Detroit Public Schools has shut off drinking water for all 106 schools in the district after several schools tested positive for raised levels of lead and copper. The move comes as nearby Flint continues to struggle with its water crisis.
According to a statement published by WXYZ, district superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti had the water supply in every school tested in the spring to “ensure the safety of our students and employees.”
Vitti said he shut the water off as a safety precaution after receiving the water purity results for 24 schools. Sixteen of those schools showed elevated levels of copper/lead contamination. Vitti said this is the second time he’s ordered a water shutdown. Last year, he cut water for 10 schools because he was concerned about their water supply despite the schools' use of a filtration system.
“The latest water results (16 schools), coupled with those from 2016 (10 DiHydro schools) and follow up results in the spring of 2018 for schools identified with concerns in 2016 (8 schools) in the spring, brings the total number of schools with water quality issues to 34,” Vitti wrote.
The results of the other schools in the district have not been received, but Vitti shut their water off to be cautious.
“Although we have no evidence that there are elevated levels of copper or lead in our other schools (over 50) where we are awaiting test results, out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our students and employees, I am turning off all drinking water in our schools until a deeper and broader analysis can be conducted to determine the long-term solutions for all schools,” he wrote.
Vitti added the mayor’s office plans to test the water supply of Detroit’s charter schools.
ClickonDetroit reports the 94 buildings owned by the district tested below the Environmental Protection Agency's guidelines for lead/copper levels in water in 2017. In 2016, 19 of the 62 buildings tested had elevated lead and copper levels.
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