Eliminating lead exposure is a critical goal of the Detroit Health Department and Detroit Public Schools Community District. Lead is a heavy metal than can poison young children who are exposed to it. By far, the most common source of exposure in Detroit is from paint in old homes. However, exposure can also occur from old piping that release it into the water in old buildings, even though Detroit city water supplies meet the highest standards of purity for lead.
In 2016, the Health Department provided funding to screen for lead content in three water outlets (e.g., drinking fountains, faucets, etc) in each building, including the kitchen sink and a high-use water fountain. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that lead water content must fall below 15 parts per billion (ppb). Facilities at or above the 15 ppb threshold in any of the three outlets tested were requested to test all of their outlets, and a full analysis was conducted to identify the source of the contamination. Schools were then asked to provide the Detroit Health Department with a plan to find and eliminate the source of the lead within 15 days. Testing is ongoing and consistent with EPA recommendations, the Detroit Health Department recommends that schools hire an EPA-certified third party to conduct testing for lead and copper contamination on all potable water outlets.
A record of each schools’ results and fix plans are below.