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Testing Reveals Lead, Copper In Detroit Schools

Detroit’s school district has shut off water in all of its school buildings.

The move comes as water test results showed elevated levels of lead and copper in more than 30 buildings. Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti says the mayor’s office will likely contribute experts to research causes.

The thought right now is that it’s a school level, building level issue related to outdated piping where residue of copper or lead maybe infiltrating the water but that’s premature and that’s something we have to look at as we move forward for a solution.

Vitti says a recent facility review prior to the water shutoff found it would take close to half of a billion dollars to bring Detroit schools up to his standards. This was before test results revealed issues with the drinking water.

Several of the DPSCD’s newer schools also tested positive for increased lead and copper levels.

Vitti says the shutoff was a district decision — instead of a government-required measure.

We’re not in a situation right now to even make a commitment regarding when drinking water would be put on again in our schools. We want to fully understand the cause district wide and at individual schools first before moving forward and turning on the drinking water.”

The latest results come from district water testing this past spring, in which a majority of results came back positive for higher than accepted lead and copper levels.

DPSCD is still awaiting test results for more than 50 remaining schools.

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

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