In 2014, Flint, Michigan, switched its drinking water supply from Detroit’s system to the Flint River. The result was a disastrous case of water contamination rarely seen in the US: discolored water that smelled and tasted foul; greatly elevated blood lead levels in children; and skin rashes, hair loss and any number of mysterious illnesses.
Dr. Eric Roy, founder and Head of Technology for Hydroviv, at the time conducting chemical research for the US Military, heard about the contamination and knew that consumer-grade filters would not be able to handle the high lead levels. He had designed water filtration systems for industrial customers, and each system was customized according to the particular properties of the incoming water. At the time, it occurred to him that a similar approach would improve home filtration systems—city-specific filters for drinking water! And so he launched #FiltersForFlint, a grass-roots charitable organization. He and a friend assembled filters in his apartment and shipped them directly to homes and organizations in Flint at no cost to the recipients. To this day, they continue to support the people of Flint, as well as disadvantaged families in Washington, DC.
From those few hundred donated filters, Eric established Hydroviv, a rapidly growing company producing thousands of units in a small warehouse in Washington, DC.
What makes the Hydroviv filter different from all other water filters is the “city-specific” aspect. Eric and his crew of “Water Nerds,” scientists in environmental policy, biomedical engineering, biology, chemistry, surface science and informatics (the science of using data and knowledge to improve human health), collect and study data on water quality from local, county, state and federal databases to identify contaminants and susceptibilities—far above and beyond what a water sample could do. They are then able to optimize the water filters according to the users’ location. And their oversight continues. They monitor a water supply to make sure nothing changes. If and when something does, they send out a replacement cartridge at no cost to the consumer.
When you consider the list of contaminants, it’s no wonder that a “one size fits all” product is not going to work: arsenic; volatile organic compounds (VOCs); polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), highly toxic industrial compounds; methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), a carcinogenic fuel oxygenate; mercury; cysts, small infectious microbe; pesticides; pharmaceuticals; petroleum-based chemicals; chlorine; chloramine; disinfection byproducts and so many many more. In addition, factors such as pH and hardness come into play, and removal percentages can vary greatly from one area to another.
Some of the advantages of the Hydroviv are:
- The system meets or exceeds filtration performance standards set forth by National Science Foundation Standard 53 for dissolved/particulate lead and chromium 6 removal.
- Removes only the toxic chemicals like lead, arsenic and chromium 6 and leaves behind beneficial minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
- Installs easily. All connections are screw on and screw off. There is no cutting, drilling or expensive professional installation needed.
- Does not take up all the space under the kitchen sink or bathroom vanity.
Eric and his crew value working on products that have a positive effect on people’s lives on an everyday basis, and they continue to develop products and solutions that were once only available to the military and corporations.