More tests in Grosse Pointe schools find OK lead levels

The Detroit News

Another round of testing at Grosse Pointe Public Schools found levels of copper and lead in drinking water were within allowable federal limits.

The school system announced Monday that the latest tests were done at four facilities, including at additional fixtures in two schools where water had been found earlier with elevated copper and lead levels — Pierce Middle and Defer Elementary.

The new tests also involved Ferry Elementary School, whose original testing involved an error, and the school system’s administration building, which hadn’t been tested before, said Rebecca Fannon, community relations specialist for the school system.

All four facilities had readings below the level set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for taking action: 1,300 parts per billion for copper and 15 parts per billion for lead, said Fannon.

“Great news,” she said. “All of the latest water sample results have come back within the allowable limits.”

The school system did the additional testing after original tests found that six schools had elevated levels of copper and lead.

The six schools, besides Pierce and Defer, were Barnes Early Childhood Center, Brownell Middle School and Kerby and Maire elementary schools.

The school system has begun taking corrective action with fixtures that had high levels of copper and lead by replacing faucets and sinks and disconnecting water fountains, said Fannon.

Among the replacements so far: a sink at Barnes’ faculty lounge, faucets in room C7 and faculty lounge at Brownell, and kitchen sinks at Defer, Kerby and Maire.

The school system is waiting for new water fountains to replace the tainted ones, said Fannon.

Over the weekend, the district retested the cooper and lead levels at the replaced fixtures and all of Barnes’ sinks and water fountains.

Those results should be known in three weeks, said Fannon.

The original tests were conducted during the school system’s spring break March 29-31.

The samples were collected by Testing Engineers & Consultants and tested by Paragon Laboratories in Livonia.

Ten of 130 samples taken at the district’s 15 schools last month had levels that exceeded federal standards, school Superintendent Gary Niehaus had told parents in an email.