Detroit district: School water lead levels meet rules

Karen Bouffard
The Detroit News

Drinking water in all 94 Detroit public schools falls within federal guidelines for lead and copper following environmental treatments at 10 buildings that started last spring, the district said Tuesday.

Water was tested at all schools in the Detroit Public Schools Community District last year, and 10 buildings were found to have unacceptable lead levels.

The district said it installed water treatment systems in those buildings last spring that brought its water within federal guidelines of 15 parts per billion or lower for lead and 1,300 parts per billion for copper. Health officials have said no level of lead in water is safe, but action is required about the 15-parts-per-billion threshold.

District Interim Superintendent Alycia Meriweather said in a Tuesday statement that the district took a “proactive approach” to fixing the lead problem in partnership with the city of Detroit and health officials.

“We then created a collaborative plan to resolve outstanding issues to ensure the safety of our staff and students,” Meriweather said.

At a monthly cost of $5,000 per school, the district installed a corrosion control system that forms a thin lining inside pipes to prevent the leaching of lead, bacteria and copper into the drinking water supply.

The schools treated for lead include Breithaupt Vocational School, Bunche Elementary-Middle School, John R. King Performing Arts Academy, Moses Field, Thurgood Marshall Elementary Middle School, Thirkell Elementary Middle School, Edison Elementary School, Wayne Elementary-Middle School, Detroit Collegiate Prep High School and Dr. Ben Carson High School for Science and Medicine.

The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation provided a $135,000 grant to cover the costs of testing.