Community-based Water Treatment for Flint, MI
Updated: Jun 8
The Last Kilometer has partnered with Jaden Smith and Drew FitzGerald, CoFounders of JUST goods and makers of JUST Water to create 501CTHREE.org. We are working with the First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Flint, Michigan to deploy a mobile water treatment system called “The Water Box” that treats lead and other contaminants in the city's drinking water.
First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church has been on the front line of the Flint water crisis since April 2014 when Flint’s water source was switched to water from the Flint River creating city wide lead contamination of the public drinking water and serious public health issues for Flint residents. Since then, First Trinity has given out over 5 million bottles of water to local residents. But despite the ongoing water safety concerns, bottled water donations are in serious decline and a more efficient and sustainable solution was needed a solution that was designed by the residents, for the residents, with ongoing testing and public reporting for full transparency.
To combat this 501CTHREE, in collaboration with the church, designed a program which will allow First Trinity to provide many more residents with access to clean water. The Water Box can produce up to 10 Gallons of clean drinking water per minute. The water is tested each day with use weekly by an independent, certified laboratory outside of Flint. The Water Box is available for residents to have any size vessel filled with clean water during the church's set distribution times. “This has been one of the most rewarding and educational experiences for me personally. Working together with people in the community experiencing the problems and design something to help them has been a journey i will never forget. We are planning to deploy more water boxes in Flint and other communities facing similar challenges,” Said Smith. “We are committed to serving the community in which we worship in. ” said Ezra Tillman, Pastor First Trinity Baptist church.
Working with the church, Jaron Rothkop of The Last Kilometer led the design and fabrication of The Water Box. managed deployment of the system, and trained the church's deacons in the testing program. Regular test results and the volume of water being distributed to the community are posted on the project's website: www.firsttrinitywater.com.
More information about the program is available at www.firsttrinitywater.com, as well as ways in which you can help support the program and the community. Our long-term goal for this project is that underserved communities develop the capacity to respond to water emergencies in a more sustainable manner than trucking in bottled water. After successful implementation of The Water Box program in Flint, 501CTHREE will publish the plans and material list for The Water Box and a manual for community organizations to develop, deploy and manage the program.