Flint Water Crisis: A major breakthrough

FLINT, Mich. – There is so much wrong with the Flint Water Crisis -- its cause, its lingering health impact, it’s ugly national headlines -- that we all find ourselves at once fatigued and yet looking for what is right, too.

The massive donations of bottled drinking water from Hollywood stars and athletes and the considerable financial donations which have flooded in give us all an uplifting feeling that when a crisis happens in America, we respond with needed help and a smile.

But we do have short attention spans in this country, too. So, after the President’s visit, the breathless headlines have abated quite a bit.

Complete Coverage: Flint Water Crisis

The problem with that, though, is Flint’s water issues have not! Residents are tired of bathing in bottled water. They no longer guard H2O like the gold in Fort Knox. Instead of bringing it inside their homes, it’s sitting outside on the porches now. The supply is so vast no one fears anyone will steal it. But having spent some time in Flint, it is it painfully obvious living with the necessity to use bottled water to brush teeth, shower or cook dinner is incredibly inconvenient, inefficient and cumbersome. What’s more, the in sink water filters require changing often, are expensive and don’t really strain the dangerous metals in the water on a grand scale.

This stop gap situation cannot go on forever. At some point something has to be done to move people past this tedious existence into something resembling normalcy. But how? How do you ensure people can get back to what we in America consider standard living and yet avoid dangerous water flowing to the tap?

This is where Michael D. Foyteck, of Artesian Water Technologies, enters the picture. His expertise is industrial water filtration. He helps big companies -- particularly manufacturing concerns -- either properly dispose of polluted water or filter it so it doesn’t damage parts or sewage treatment plants. He and his company are adept at removing heavy metals like arsenic from the water after the arsenic level regulations changed about 15 years ago.

At the time the Flint crisis broke, long before the state of Michigan acknowledged it messed up the Flint Water Treatment (along with the EPA and the city of Flint, which was under emergency management), Foyteck’s office assistant had a new baby. She and the baby were having terrible rashes and other serious reactions. Foyteck knew they’d just switched to the Flint River as a water supply.

There was a problem he immediately identified as the water and he used his long experience and tenacity to work on a solution for something that traditionally in this country wasn’t needed. His solution was an in-home water filter that would take out all of the metals, lead and copper first among them for the entire house, not just a sink or shower. But the filter had to do more still.

Because Flint is impoverished in so many ways, he knew he had to get the cost out and had to greatly improve performance. Over time he realized it was going to take as much as a decade to replace all of the city’s water pipes. He needed to make a filter that could last that long, didn’t need expensive replacement filters and could service the entire house or business without much attention paid. Later, when he heard about the Legionella deaths, he knew he had to address that as well.

So, through trial and error and lots of testing and considerable time and money spent, he has come up with an economical, point of entry house water filter that changes the game in a major fashion. He has a patent in hand, he has state and federal water quality experts looking at and testing his equipment, and so far his claims are coming to pass. He’s on the edge of getting approval on water filtration never before allowed. The filtration system’s success is so impressive the non-profit Flint Restoration Group is anxious to get started buying up as many units as it can and start installing them free of charge to Flint residents, especially those who are either elderly or have newborn children.

One of the more interesting corners of this story today we discovered was Viet Nam Veteran George Grundy. This Flint resident has a lot of friends and an Artesian water filter in his Habitat for Humanity built home. He now allows them to use his shower and his washing machine because his water is that much better.

There is much about this system Foyteck cannot talk about publicly, but rest assured you will be hearing more about his system in the days to come. Foyteck’s business office is in Holly, the units are manufactured in Clarkston and the company’s operated a Flint warehouse for decades.

So, a local guy, with considerable expertise and a reason to help others comes through in the clutch! Yes, he stands to become fabulously wealthy as a result, but he’s not so much worried about that right now. He just wants to see Flint get the immediate fix it needs as soon as possible.

After all the headlines fade, we still see how necessity truly is the mother of invention and how America responds to a crisis. 

More from Rod Meloni: Meloni Money section 

About the Author: