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Water Crisis | Flint, Michigan

Elon Musk committing to 'fund fixing the water' in Flint, MI

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Thursday, July 12, 2018, 6:33 PM - Days after billionaire tech guru Elon Musk stepped up to help rescue operations in Thailand, he now vows to help those involved in the Flint, Michigan water crisis.

In a Tweet Wednesday the founder and CEO of SpaceX said, "please consider this a commitment that I will fund fixing the water in any house in Flint that has water contamination above FDA levels. No kidding."

In another Tweet Musk expressed that most homes in Flint have safe water, however, residents have lost faith in government test results. He then pledged to organize a weekend to add filters to houses that have been impacted by lead contamination.

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This certainly grabbed the attention of Flint's mayor Karen Weaver.

"I would like to have a conversation with you about Flint's specific needs," Weaver posted in response to Musk's Tweet.

Flint, facing an extended economic decline since the 1980s, came under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager in 2011. To save money, the city of about 100,000 residents in 2014 temporarily switched its water source from Detroit's municipal system to the Flint River, which was more corrosive and caused more lead to leach from aging pipes, causing health problems.

FILE PHOTO: Running tap water is seen in a city struggling with the effects of lead-poisoned drinking water, in Flint, Michigan, U.S., May 4, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

The crisis prompted a rash of lawsuits by parents who say their children, who are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, had dangerously high levels of the chemical in their blood.

Under new standards set by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the maximum level of allowable lead in drinking water will drop to 12 parts per billion in 2025. The federal level as mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is 15 parts per billion.

All public water systems are required to replace the state's 500,000 lead service lines at a rate averaging 5 per cent per year beginning in 2021 over a 20-year period.

The new rules prohibit partial lead service line replacement due to the potential for elevated lead levels that could harm public health. Most public water systems are required to perform a full system inventory detailing all parts and materials used.

(With reports from Gina Cherelus, Reuters)

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