About the Program
Q: Why the Water Box?
A: Because everyone deserves access to clean water. You can read more about how The Water Box program started here. [link to Water Box Home]
Q: What is the Water Box program?
A: The Water Box program has three components: Collaboration, Filtration, and Testing
The purpose of the Water Box is to help public service organizations in communities with unsafe water by giving them an alternative to distributing single-use bottled water. For these organizations, the Water Box removes the burden of funding, purchasing, transporting, and warehousing bottled water, and 501CTHREE partners with the community to tailor the program to their needs. Before a Water Box is deployed, we listen to what the residents and organization’s members require and work collaboratively to find solutions for water distribution, transportation, testing, and communication. Through this process we are constantly uncovering new challenges and discovering novel ways to improve the Water Box program.
The Water Box is a four-stage treatment system that has been designed to address the water safety of communities where the municipal water infrastructure has degraded or been contaminated. Because it is intended to be used by volunteers in the community, the Water Box is simple to operate and maintain. Built from readily available off-the-shelf components, the 3-stage filtration and UV treatment remove the most common mineral and biological contaminants in municipal water such as lead, arsenic, copper, e-coli, legionella, and many others.
Testing & Transparency
Many residents we encounter feel they have been misled by official sources about the safety of the water in their community. From the start of the program, it has been important that we take an approach of radical transparency, and that messages about the Water Box program come not from us but from trusted members of the community. So we developed a testing program that is administered locally by the volunteers distributing water. Water samples are taken and tested on-site each day that the Water Box is in use, and samples are sent periodically to a third-party certified lab for verification. All the test data for each location is published to our website so that residents can see the water is clean and safe.
Q: Where are the Water Boxes located?
A: You can see all of our locations here [link to locations page].
Q: How does the Water Box work?
A:The Water Box uses a three-stage filtration system and UV lamp to treat municipal water:
Stage One is a 5-micron membrane filter that removes sediment from the water
Stage Two is a 1-micron membrane filter that removes sediment and some biological contaminants
Stage Three is a 0.5-micron activated carbon filter that removes heavy metals such as lead and arsenic
Stage Four is a UV lamp that kills any remaining virus, cysts or bacteria
The Water Box was designed with the help of JUST Water, The Last Kilometer, The University of Michigan, and Kettering University and is similar to systems installed in Flint's schools in response to the water crisis.
Q: How do I get a Water Box for my community?
A: We work with organizations that are helping their communities get access to water, food, and shelter. If you know an organization that would like to bring The Water Box to their community, contact us here. [contact email]
Q:Can the Water Box help people in Africa?
A: The Water Box for Flint was designed to work in cities with contaminated municipal water. We are working on new designs that will help communities that get their water from wells or streams. Our first project in support of the Bwindi Community Hospital in Uganda went online in late 2021 and is providing clean, safe water to a hospital and nursing school.
Q: Is the Water Box a permanent solution for Flint and other cities?
A: The Water Box is an alternative to trucking in millions of single-use plastic bottles during a water crisis. It is not meant to be a permanent solution or an alternative to municipalities fixing their contaminated water systems.
Q: Can I buy a Water Box?
A: The Water Box is not a product for sale. It is a program that is tailored to the water quality issues and needs of the community at each location. We are always looking for sponsors to help bring more Water Boxes to communities in crisis, if you are interested please contact us here. [contact email]
Q: How much does a Water Box cost to build?
A: So far, The Water Boxes have been built using a combination of donations and volunteers. We raised $50,000 for each of the first four Water Boxes, which covered the materials, fabrication, testing, documenting each program, and paying for a year's worth of testing and maintenance. Because municipal water is very expensive in these communities, we are also reimbursing each location for the cost of the water that is handed out. We do expect the cost of each program to go down as we build more of them.
Q: Can I build a Water Box?
A: Yes you can! The Water Box is intended to be an open-source program design that a community can use to address their need for clean water. The Water Box can be built using hand tools and common parts that you can find in a hardware store or online. We will be releasing the program design and downloadable plans for the Water Box in early 2021.
About Water Testing
Q: How often is the water quality tested?
A: Measurements are taken every time the Water Box is used for PH, TDS, and lead using hand-held meters. Additionally, water samples are collected and sent to an accredited third-party laboratory to test for microbiological contamination
Q: What are the test parameters?
A: The current test parameters are:
Ph between 6.5 and 8.5
TDS below 300 mg/L
Lead = zero
Coliform = zero after two tests
Ecoli = zero
Q: What happens if the water doesn't pass the tests?
A: If the water does not pass one of the tests, water distribution is immediately stopped until the issue is fixed and the tests are passed. The Water Box will be cleaned, flushed, and tested again until it passes.
Q: Where can I see the test results?
A: The test results are posted on the page for each Water Box location. [link to locations page]
Q: How often are the filters changed?
A: The filters are changed every six months, or when the filter meter reads 'CHANGE'.
Q: How can I donate?
A: There are many ways you can help The Water Box program:
- Donate a jug for a resident here. [shopping cart>jug]
- Make a donation to 501CTHREE through our website [link to cart] or paypal (paypal.me/501cthree)
- Shop our merchandise
Donate to 501CTHREE with every purchase you make on Amazon by going to smile.amazon.com and choosing 501CTHREE Corp as your charity.
Q: Are my donations tax-deductible?
A: Yes, we are an IRS-certified 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. While you are not required by the IRS to provide a receipt for donations of $250 or less, you will be sent a digital receipt when you donate online. For larger donations, we can send you a donation letter for your tax records.
Q: How are my donations spent?
A: 100% of your online donations go directly to bringing Water Boxes to communities in need. Our operations and administrative costs are funded by our corporate sponsors and philanthropic donors.
Q: Do you need volunteers?
A: All of our Water Box locations could benefit from having more volunteers to hand out water. Volunteer hours are managed by the staff at each Water Box location. Click here to send us a message and let us know which organization you would like us to put you in contact with.
Q: Are you hiring?
A: Not yet, we are just getting started. We will post any positions that become available on this website.
About Carbon Negative
What if there were a way to create positive environmental change with every purchase you made? What if you could offset the greenhouse gasses that were emitted by making the goods you buy? That is exactly the role of carbon offsets, and 501CTHREE has committed to offsetting over 100% of the carbon lifecycle of every hoodie we deliver. FInd out more here (link).
Q: How does carbon-negative work?
501CTHREE works with the developers of projects that will draw down CO2 from the atmosphere. Every time we sell a hoodie, we will fund one of these projects by purchasing a carbon offset. The carbon offset is a contract to recover an amount of greenhouse gas emissions that is greater than the emissions it takes to create, use and recycle the hoodie.
Many companies and organizations are trying to become carbon-neutral, meaning they offset 100% of the greenhouse gasses they emit. We are going a step further to become carbon-negative, meaning that with the purchase of each hoodie we will offset more carbon than it took to make and deliver. If everyone selling online took this approach, our consumerism would begin to help clean up the atmosphere and help reverse climate change.
In addition to offsetting the greenhouse gasses of the hoodie, we will also offset the emissions from delivering the hoodie to your doorstep. When you put in your mailing address, we will calculate the emissions that will be produced when the hoodie is shipped to you. 501CTHREE will then purchase a carbon offset for the transportation.
Q: What exactly are carbon offsets?
A carbon offset represents one metric ton of carbon emissions that are avoided or captured from the atmosphere. Some examples of carbon offset projects include: capturing methane at a landfill that would normally leach into the atmosphere, avoiding carbon emissions by producing energy using clean and renewable resources, or recovering greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere by planting healthy forests.
501CTHREE is offsetting our hoodies by investing in two types of projects. The first is a tropical rainforest conservation project in Brazil. The Pursus Project, developed by Carbonfund, will protect 86,000 acres of Amazon tropical rainforest from deforestation. More information about the project is available here.
The second offset is an urban forestry project under development in the Pacific Northwest. Healthy trees are a vital part of healthy cities, removing pollution and breaking up the harsh landscape of concrete and asphalt. Urban trees help in many other ways, from stabilizing the climate and preventing runoff to reducing energy consumption and increasing property values.