High levels of lead, copper found in water at 57 Detroit schools

About two-thirds of Detroit public schools where results have been provided tested positive for elevated levels of copper and/or lead, according to the Detroit Public Schools Community District.

DPSCD says test results showed that 57 of 86 schools where test results have been provided have high elevations of lead and/or copper. This new round of tests added 33 to the list.

The district is still awaiting results from 17 schools (A.L. Holmes, Catherine Ferguson, Palmer Park, Davison, Fisher Upper/Lower, Pershing) and 10 Di-Hydro schools. Parents and students will be informed via a backpack letter home an automated call home.

Drinking water shut off at Detroit schools for elevated lead, copper levels

DPSCD says the plan is to continue using water coolers and evaluating bids to make a recommendation to the board for the use of hydration stations within the next few weeks. 

By the beginning of the next school year, water coolers would be replaced by hydration stations -- one hydration station per 100 students, as well as one in the gym, kitchen and faculty lounge.

Detroit school district considering $2M plan to temporarily fix water in schools

The water issue began toward the end of the last school year when the district tested the water of the school buildings, evaluating all water sources from drinking fountains to sinks. High elevations of lead and/or copper were found in 16 of 24 schools. Schools turned off drinking water and instead provided water coolers and bottled water.

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School Board President Iris Taylor released the following statement regarding the testing and its results: 

"Superintendent Vitti boldly took a proactive approach and tested all water sources without any mandate from federal, state, or local requirements. This was done in the best interest of children and our employees. Our hope is that all districts and schools will make this decision soon. The School Board was aware of this decision and fully supported it. We also fully supported the decision to discontinue drinking water as we awaited test results. That decision was verified with the last round of test results returned. As an elected body and appointed Superintendent we are empowered by the citizens of Detroit to immediately own challenges and problems of the school district. We are also expected to transparently inform and engage our internal and external communities about those challenges and solutions. We have proudly done both since initial water results were returned. We must own our challenges and problems as a district. As a Board and administrative team, we have provided a safe, short-term solution to our water challenge by using water coolers. Regardless of any additional results, we are confident that the long-term solution recommended by the Superintendent (hydration stations) is viable and a best practice in other districts. The bidding procedures will be followed to ensure we obtain the best quality, price, and service for the stations over the next two weeks. The board plans to meet with the superintendent by the beginning of October to review and likely approve the hydration station solution."

According to the district:

Below is a list of the 52 schools where water tests have been recently returned. In addition is a list of schools where previous test results were released. 

Most Recent Round of Test Results (33 of 52)

Previously Released Test Results

Below are the first round of test results and the 24 schools tested :

Schools with isolated water sources with elevated levels detected in latest round of water testing:

  1. Academy of the Americas Elementary-Middle School
  2. Adult Education- East
  3. Bates Academy
  4. Bennett Elementary-Middle School
  5. Cass Technical High School
  6. Roberto Clemente Elementary
  7. Clippert Elementary Middle School
  8. Coleman Young Elementary School
  9. Davis Aerospace @ Golightly
  10. Dixon Academy
  11. Foreign Language Immersion
  12. Hutchinson @ Howe
  13. Keidan
  14. Noble Elementary-Middle School
  15. Marcus Garvey
  16. Renaissance High School

No elevations detected in latest round of water testing results returned: 

  1. Academy of the Americas High School
  2. Adult Education- West
  3. Burns Elementary School
  4. Drew Transition Center
  5. Earhart Elementary-Middle School
  6. Harms Elementary School
  7. Neinas Elementary School