As of March 2018, it’s been almost four years since the residents of Flint, Michigan, have had clean drinking water coming out of their faucets.
There’s a colorfully painted wall near one of the main streets into Flint, where a tally is updated every day of how many days have passed since the city last at clean water. It’s measured in years, and there’s no solution in the works.
According to data collected by the Michigan State Department of Environmental Quality, the lead in water flowing from the taps in Flint’s elementary schools is still an issue. In January 2018, 20 taps in nine buildings showed samples about 15 parts per billion (ppb). Now it’s 28. 15 PPB is the EPA-recommended maximum for acceptable contamination, and many doctors argue that there is no acceptable level of lead in drinking water, especially for children. Students in Flint’s schools have not used tap water since September 2015. The town has switched back to its original source of water, but the pipes damaged in their water crisis are still contaminating the supply and will not be replaced until 2020.
JUST Water, the green bottled water company founded by Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith, intends to be a part of the solution for the two (or likely more) years left of Flint’s water troubles. So far, they have donated nearly 10,000 bottles, but they intend to bring much more. Flint has nearly 100,000 residents, and even a gallon a day for each would be stingy rationing. News is unclear if they’re donating to the residents as a whole, or only to Flint’s students. JUST Water intends to keep donating every month until Flint has drinkable water again.
“This just makes sense for us to do,” JUST Water CEO Ira Laufer said in an interview with Mlive.com. “Jada Smith has visited Flint and met with the mayor. Flint is very dear to her heart … After reading more about [Flint’s] challenges and the mayor objecting to pulling bottled water from the schools, we thought, ‘Let’s help these kids.’”
Photo: The National Guard distributes bottled water in Flint, Michigan. Credit: Linda Parton / Shutterstock.com