Before water filtration systems donated by billionaire Elon Musk are deployed in Flint schools, they're being put through the paces by researchers at Kettering University.

Dr. Laura Sullivan said the university received two units for testing in November. She tells Mid-Michigan Now that she is very confident that the three-step filtration system will be effective.

“I’m absolutely sure that these will work, but that’s not enough. I want to demonstrate that they work,” Sullivan said. "We’re using solutions that are far more contaminated than anything that you would see in Flint municipal water."

The units being tested treat water with high levels of lead and bacteria by using a three-step process:

  1. The Ultra Filter:  Prevents large amounts of bacteria from getting through.
  2. A Carbon Filter:  This barrier filters out metal, lead, and copper.
  3. An Ultraviolet Light:  Kills any remaining bacteria.

The systems are equipped with Wi-Fi communication devices so parents and staff will be able to monitor the units' effectiveness.

Sullivan, a mechanical engineering professor at Kettering, says she suffered illness from drinking contaminated Flint water in 2016. She says that gives her a deeper understanding of what Flint residents have been coping with. She expects her department's research to be completed in the spring.

More than 120 units will be deployed in Flint schools. More testing will then be conducted before students are given the green light to drink the treated water.