DETROIT – February 20, 2017 – Detroit Public Schools Community District reports lead and copper levels are below EPA guidelines of 15 parts per billion (ppb) and 1300 parts per billion (ppb) respectively at all 94 school buildings.
“Last spring, Detroit Public Schools Community District embarked on a proactive approach and partnership with the City of Detroit and the Department of Health to test drinking water in all 94 school buildings before June 30, 2016. We then created a collaborative plan to resolve outstanding issues to ensure the safety of our staff and students,” said Alycia Meriweather, Interim Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District.
Of the buildings tested, 10 schools needed additional mitigation to bring lead and copper levels within EPA guidelines. The district contracted with DiHydro Services to install an EPA approved water treatment program in those 10 schools at a cost of $5,000 per month. The water treatment program is a corrosion control system that forms a thin lining on the interior of pipes and creates a barrier for lead, bacteria and copper from becoming a part of the drinking water supply.
Lead and copper testing was performed by industrial hygienists from the ATC Group based in Novi, Michigan. ATC is an independent environmental consulting firm which pulled the samples from drinking fountains and sinks. The samples were then sent out to a certified independent laboratory for testing.
The Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation provided a grant of $135,000 to cover the costs of testing.
After the initial test results were analyzed, schools were placed in three groups:
Group 1, (70 Schools) the results did not exceed the MCL of initial sampling for lead and/or copper according to MDEQ Guidance and the EPA’s 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools. For these schools, all water related operations proceeded as normal.
Group 2, (14 Schools) the results exceeded the MCL for either the initial and/or flush sampling for lead and/or copper according to MDEQ Guidelines. DPSCD isolated and/or removed the fixtures that exceeded MCL for lead and/or copper and implemented a weekly Flush Plan for the water fixtures at these schools.
Group 3, (10 Schools) there were multiple results that exceeded the MCL for either the initial and/or flush sampling for lead and/or copper according to MDEQ guidelines. A notification letter was sent out to staff and parents, drinking fountains were shut down and signage was placed throughout the buildings to notify staff and students to use the alternative water sources provided by the district.
DiHydro Services installed an EPA approved system that provides continuous treatment of the pipes and safeguards the water from bacteria and other contaminants. DiHydro Services has been in business since 1939 and provides this service to school districts and hospitals throughout the state of Michigan. Once the Di Hydro systems were installed, drinking water sources were re-tested by ATC Group to confirm that the district was within MDEQ guidelines before restoring water service.
The schools where a DiHydro water treatment system has been installed, and re-testing has confirmed that lead and copper levels are now below the EPA guidelines include; (1) Breithaupt Vocational School, (2) Bunche Elementary-Middle School, (3) John R. King Performing Arts Academy, (4) Moses Field, (5) Thurgood Marshall Elementary Middle School, (6) Thirkell Elementary Middle School, (7) Edison Elementary School (8) Wayne Elementary-Middle School, (9) Detroit Collegiate Prep High School and (10) Dr. Ben Carson High School for Science and Medicine.