Milwaukee manufacturer A. O. Smith Corporation, along with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, announced a partnership with Mayor Tom Barrett and the City of Milwaukee Health Department to provide Aquasana-branded water filtration products to city residents living in homes with lead service lines.

The two products offered through the program, the Aquasana Claryum countertop unit and the Claryum “Clean Water Machine” powered water filtration pitcher, are NSF-certified to remove more than 99 percent of lead from drinking water as well as more than 65 other potentially harmful contaminants including heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, cysts, and organic pollutants such as pesticides.

The City of Milwaukee Health Department will coordinate the distribution of the filtration products and replacement filters as well as who qualifies for them in partnership with Social Development Commission (SDC) and Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers. The program will focus on households with pregnant women and/or children under the age of six.

“Thanks to donations from thousands of community members, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County was able to deploy unrestricted funds almost immediately, which laid the foundation for what is now a total of $90,000, all going towards the purchase of filter systems and replacement filters,” said Nicole Angresano, vice president of community impact for United Way.

While Milwaukee treats its drinking water to reduce the risk of lead exposure, and Milwaukee water continues to meet EPA testing guidelines, public health recommendations for residents in homes with lead service lines and young children or pregnant women in the home include the use of a water filter certified to remove lead.

“The City of Milwaukee has aggressively worked to reduce children’s exposure to lead hazards and can report we are seeing the lowest levels on record,” said Mayor Tom Barrett. “As we work to drive down rates even further by minimizing exposure to all lead hazards, I thank A. O. Smith and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County for their partnership in providing an additional layer of protection against lead hazards for our most vulnerable residents.”

“We applaud Mayor Barrett for his proactive stance and concern for Milwaukee residents,” Ajita G. Rajendra, chairman and chief executive officer of A. O. Smith Corporation, said. “A. O. Smith and Aquasana are pleased to be in a position to support the City, United Way, and the health system members of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership in response to this critical health issue.”

“In addition to removing harmful lead from residents’ water, we chose the countertop unit and the Clean Water Machine for their ease of installation and use,” Rajendra said. “The countertop unit attaches to the faucet in one easy step, and the Clean Water Machine is a powered countertop unit that simply plugs into a standard outlet to deliver clean and healthy drinking water.”

The City of Milwaukee Health Department received the initial delivery of countertop and powered units and will be coordinating distribution beginning mid-November. The initial purchase also included replacement filters for both products.

A. O. Smith and Aquasana also announced a special discount program for residents of the Greater Milwaukee area who do not qualify for the Mayor’s program and wish to purchase Aquasana water filtration systems to remove lead from their drinking water. A significant discount will be available through the end of 2016 to residents who purchase Aquasana water filters online at using the password “Milwaukee.” Aquasana also is offering replacement filters at a special discounted price, which includes extended warranties and free shipping through its “water for life” program.

In addition to A. O. Smith, the partnership is being underwritten by grants from United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and the health system members of the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership: Aurora Health Care; Ascension Wisconsin; Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin; and Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“Having access to clean water at home is absolutely essential to good health,” said Nick Turkal, MD, president and chief executive officer of Aurora Health Care. “That’s why we are pleased to collaborate with the United Way and the City and lead efforts to provide water filters to those in our community who need them most.”

Austin-based Aquasana, which was acquired by A. O. Smith in August, handled a similar water purification product program in Flint, Mich., earlier this year.

A. O. Smith Corporation, with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis., is a global leader applying innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions to products manufactured and marketed worldwide. The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment, as well as a manufacturer of water treatment products.

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Lee Matz