Monday marks day 1,411 since the people of Flint, Mich., had (relatively) clean, safe water running through the pipes in their homes. We are nearly at the four-year mark, and although there has been some change, it has been slow, and the end is still not here. The city doesn’t get as many headlines in the news, at least not nationally, but despite that—Will and Jaden Smith’s water company cares, if don’t nobody else care.
MLive.com reports that Just Water, an eco-friendly water company started by the celebrity father-son duo, donated 9,200 bottles of water to the city and will continue to do so on a monthly basis until lead levels in the water at Flint public schools are below the federal threshold.
Just Water CEO Ira Laufer told MLive that the donation was a “no-brainer.”
“This just makes sense for us to do,” Laufer said. “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.’”
Laufer told MLive that the Smith family is “aware of the Flint donation and very excited.”
Just was founded by the Smiths in 2015. Its packaging is crafted from almost all-renewable sources, and Laufer said that its water comes from an ethically sourced model contributing to the economy in Glenn Falls, N.Y.
Regarding Flint schools, although initial tests conducted in February showed that lead levels were below the federal action limit, five of nine elementary schools had at least one test that exceeded that threshold.
For the last 18 months, the city of Flint’s water supply has tested within federal guidelines for lead, but residents are still cautioned to use bottled water or faucet filters as a precaution.
The city currently has five state-funded bottled water and faucet-filter distribution centers.
A large-scale review of the city’s water quality is expected to begin later this month, but the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says that there’s no timeline for making recommendations about Flint once that review is complete.
Even without school district lead-testing results, state officials have been talking about reconsidering the water-distribution programs.
Flint Mayor Karen Weaver has gone on record to say that the state should continue supplying bottled water to the city until all lead and galvanized services lines in the city have been replaced—something that could take until the year 2020 to complete.
In a statement to MLive, Weaver said:
I have been, and still am, a proponent of bottled water being provided to residents until all lead-tainted service lines leading to homes in Flint have been replaced.
I feel even stronger about this position after recent water test results from Flint schools, provided by [the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality] showed results where lead levels were above the level recommended by the medical community of 5 [parts per billion], as well as the Lead and Copper Rule action level of 15 ppb.
In the meantime, Just Water sent four pallets of water to the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan on March 1.
Cathy Blankenship, Food Bank vice president of development, said that the donation is “greatly appreciated.”
“It’s always generous that people are still thinking about Flint,” Blankenship said.