DPS addresses lead, copper levels in water

Posted at 5:55 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 17:55:15-04

Detroit Public Schools recently started testing the water at all of its schools. Now parents are learning it found concerning levels of copper or lead in water at 19 schools.
One of the schools impacted is Vernor Elementary.

When parents brought their kids to school this morning they found the water turned off at drinking fountains.  The district sent home a letter that explains tests found high levels of lead in water from one faucet in the school.

“This is a health issue for these kids,” said Jacqueline Chester, who wonders if her 5-year-old daughter drank dangerous water.

“We understand parents are concerned and we are concerned with them,” said Michelle Zdrodowski, DPS Executive Director of Communications. "That is why we did this testing as a precautionary measure.)”

Zdrodowski says the school district isn’t required to test water, but did so because it is the right thing to do. It is following EPA guidelines, testing 3 faucets at each school building. So far there have been concerning levels of copper or lead at 19 schools.

In each case the district says only one faucet gave a concerning water sample. This could mean it is an isolated problem within a water fixture.  

While that is figured out, bottled water is available at schools with issues. More tests are being done on other faucets, and plans to make sure the water is safe are being worked out with the city.

“It could be anything from replacing a fixture at a drinking fountain, to replacing an entire drinking fountains, to having an engineer regularly flush the system out.

The nineteen schools that had a concerning level of lead or copper come back from a test include:

  • Beard Early Childhood
  • Bow Elementary School
  • Ronald Brown Academy
  • Bunche Preparatory Academy
  • Burton International Academy
  • Carstens Elementary-Middle School
  • Carver STEM Academy
  • JE Clark Preparatory Academy
  • Detroit Lions Academy
  • Edison Elementary School
  • JR King Elementary-Middle School
  • Ludington Magnet Middle School
  • Thurgood Marshall Elementary-Middle School
  • Moses Field Elementary-Middle School
  • Priest Elementary School
  • Sampson Webber Leadership Academy
  • Spain Elementary-Middle School
  • Turning Point Academy
  • Vernor Elementary School

Here are the schools that came back clear:

  • Academy of Americas
  • AL Holmes
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Ann Arbor Trail Magnet
  • Bagley ES
  • Bennet School
  • Blackwell
  • Brewer Academy
  • Carelton ES
  • Chrysler ES
  • Clippert Academy
  • Davison ES-MS
  • Detroit International Academy
  • Dixon Educational Learning Center
  • Dossin ES
  • Douglas Academy
  • Duke Ellington
  • Fisher Magnet Lower
  • Golightly Education Center
  • Greenfield Union ES-MS
  • Hutchinson
  • Mackenzie ES-MS
  • Marcus Garvey Academy
  • Mark Twain School
  • Marquette ES-MS
  • Munger ES-MS
  • Nichols ES
  • Palmer Park Prep Academy
  • Priest ES-MS
  • Pulaski ES-MS
  • Roberto Clemente
  • Schulze Academy
  • Bates Academy
  • Cooke ES
  • Durfee ES-MS
  • Emerson ES
  • Gompers ES-MS
  • Henderson Academy
  • Keidan ES
  • Noble ES
  • Pasteur ES
  • Priest MS
  • Robeson Malcom X

The district provided the following list of frequently asked questions regarding lead or copper in school water.

DPS Lead, Copper FAQ