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Detroit public schools to shut off drinking water after tests reveal elevated lead, copper levels

By Web Staff

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) -- Tests revealed elevated lead and copper levels in the drinking water in Detroit public schools, prompting all of the drinking water to be shut off.

The following statement was released from Dr. Nikolai Vitti, superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District:

I initiated water testing of all of our school buildings during the spring to ensure the safety of our students and employees. This was not required by federal, state, or city law or mandate. This testing, unlike previous testing, evaluated all water sources from sinks to drinking fountains. This past week initial results were returned for 24 schools and higher than acceptable levels were identified for copper and/or lead in 16 schools at one or more water sources. I immediately turned off the drinking water at those schools and provided water bottles until water coolers arrive.

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.

We have communicated our decision to staff and families and will continue to communicate when students return to school next week.

The Great Lakes Water Authority and the Detroit Water Sewerage Department also released a joint statement assuring Detroit residents and customers of the regional water system that they are not affected by the lead and copper issues that the DPS School District is experiencing.

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