State to urge all schools to test for lead in wake of Flint results

Oct 9, 2015

Flint began drawing water from the Flint River in 2014. In 2015, tests showed elevated levels of lead in some residents' homes and in some schools.
Credit Sarah Razak / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The state plans to urge all schools to test for lead in the drinking water, after elevated lead levels showed up in the water in several schools in Flint.

Flint's situation is unique, in that the city switched to using more corrosive water from the Flint River last year.

But what is not unique is the age of some of Flint's school buildings. Older school buildings across the state could still have lead pipes. 

"The situation in Flint is renewing that concern," says Dan Wyant, head of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, "and so it's time I think for all schools to think about and go back and  revisit and take a look at their systems."

Wyant says federal law requires schools that have their own water systems, using groundwater, to test for lead. But schools that use water from municipal or other sources are under no such requirement.

He says more than 700 school districts have their own water systems.

Flint is planning to switch back to using water from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, after lead levels spiked  in Flint children.

Water from the Flint River is more corrosive that water from Lake Huron, where Detroit draws its water, and experts say the corrosiveness increased the amount of lead leaching into the water from older pipes.