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Lead in Ann Arbor school drinking water being mitigated, superintendent says

drinking fountain

Ann Arbor Public Schools has released more information about lead found in the drinking water at local public schools. The district tested 1,426 drinking water sources at 32 different schools, and found that 91.6% met or exceeded AAPS standards.

The district standard for lead in drinking water is 5 parts per billion, and the federal standard is 15 parts per billion. The district standard was raised in October 2018 after parents expressed concerns.

The tests showed 119 water sources had samples that tested above 5 ppb, and 34 of those were above the EPA’s 15-ppb action level.

Jeanice Swift is the superintendent of Ann Arbor Public Schools.

“We have voluntarily tested for lead in drinking water in the Ann Arbor Public Schools since 2016,” she says.

Swift says that the district sent out the first part of the data to parents in December 2018, and followed up with the updated report on June 6, detailing the data and providing links to data from individual schools as a part of the commitment to keeping families and the community informed.

In initial reports, several drinking fountains at Forsythe Middle had levels ranging from 200-300 ppb before mitigation and repair. Various faucets at Logan Elementary had levels as high as 42 ppb. The gym at Pioneer High School had several drinking fountains that all ranged from 6-20 ppb. Despite these concerning numbers, the district confirmed that all water sources are now at 5 ppb and below, following corrective actions.

“We’re committed to achieving the lowest possible levels of lead in drinking water in the Ann Arbor public schools, and we take very seriously the risks associated with lead exposure, particularly for your youngest students,” Swift said.

Low levels of lead exposure in young children have been linked with damage to the central nervous system and kidneys, as well as impaired neurobehavioral development, decreased stature and growth, and impaired hearing.

Swift says that she’s proud of the district’s efforts to create a healthy and safe environment for students.

“This year, we installed the hydration stations, mitigated any and all fixtures that flagged,” she says of this year’s progress. “So we’ll continue that process in future years of testing for lead in drinking water, we’ll continue to update our parents and our community members, we’ll continue our partnership with Washtenaw County Health Department… we are leaders in our efforts to address and mitigate any levels of lead in drinking water.”


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