State advice to schools: test water for lead, take action at much lower levels

Sep 11, 2016

The state is advising schools to test their water for lead, even though it’s not required. Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality wants schools to take action, even if lead levels are below the federal standard.

The federal action limit for lead in water is 15 parts per billion. Governor Rick Snyder would like to see Michigan have an even stricter standard; 10 ppb.

But in an August memo for day care centers, schools, and other public buildings, MDEQ advises administrators to take action if levels are above 5 ppb. That’s the same limit allowed in bottled water.

The memo suggests faucets that test higher than 5 ppb be closed, that old fixtures be replaced, or that faucets get flushed regularly to help prevent kids and others from being exposed.

Schools can get reimbursed up to $950 per building for tests or upgrades.