Berkley School District’s Response to Lead Testing Inquiry UPDATED

BoysGirls_trait_01Berkley School District’s Red Door Realty Ad _own_your_dreamResponse to Lead Testing Inquiry

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 27, 2016)

Berkley, MI – As they see the images of children in Flint lined up to get bottled water or crying over blood tests, people around the country have been wondering about the safety of the water they and their families use on a day to day basis to cook, clean, bathe and drink.  Parents, teachers and advocates have also been calling for testing of the water in schools.

When lead and copper are issues, it is often caused by old pipes or old fixtures.  Even when old j and d adfixtures are there, corrosion control in the water helps protect users.  But testing is the best way to know if the protections are working or not.

After learning that Oakland Schools had put out an RFP for water testing, the oc115 contacted school districts from throughout Oakland County to find out where they stand on testing.

UPDATE:  The following was sent by Berkley Schools:

Dear Berkley Schools Families,

Like many school districts across the state we decided that, in light of the ongoing crisis in Flint, we should conduct tests on water in our schools.  To be clear, we had no indication of any problems, but thought that prudence dictated that we should test a sample set of water from drinking fountains and sinks.

NOVA Environmental, Inc. was hired to take samples from each of our schools.  They took initial samples from four locations at the high school, three locations at Anderson Middle School, two at Norup International School, and two from each elementary, including Tyndall and Avery and one sample from the maintenance building.  All of these samples were “first draw” or static samples.  This means that the water that was collected for testing was not flushed.  In fact, the samples were taken very early in the morning after the faucets sat idle for a minimum of six hours.  This is a more rigorous and accurate test than collecting samples after water has been flushed from a tap, and is an industry standard for lead and copper detection.

The water coming into our schools comes from the same source as the water used in every home and business in our community.  We are very confident that our incoming water is in excellent condition.  We wanted to be certain, however, that the age and condition of our infrastructure, such as pipes and faucets, was not causing any issues with our water quality.  We tested a sample set of drinking fountains and sinks because each school’s drinking fountains and sinks are roughly the same age, make and model.

Twenty (20) of the 22 tests came back showing levels below the federal government’s action levels for both lead and copper, including all drinking fountains tested.  At two sink locations, however, water samples revealed elevated readings.  At a kitchen sink at Avery the copper level in the water came in above the federal government’s action level.  At Anderson Middle School, water from a kitchen sink came back above the federal government’s action level for lead.  The lead action level is 0.015 mg/L. The copper action level is 1.3 mg/L. (mg/L = milligrams/Liter parts per million). In both cases the sinks were then taken out of commission.  The fixtures on the sinks were replaced and water samples were retaken using the same method.  The water coming from those sinks is now below the action level for both lead and copper.

Because of the results from Anderson and Avery’s initial tests we conducted further tests on other sinks in their kitchens.  After completing a series of additional water samples, replacing faucets and performing maintenance on one sink, all readings from the sinks tested in Anderson’s kitchen are now below the federal action levels. The additional Avery sink was below the action levels for both copper and lead. Out of an abundance of caution we will conduct further tests on water outlets at Anderson, and once we have the final results, will share those with you.

The results for all of the tests conducted are linked below:

First round of samples, all Berkley School District schools

Additional testing in Anderson and Avery kitchens


The results for each city’s water quality reports are linked below:


Huntington Woods

Oak Park


As part of the scope of the bond work approved by the community a year ago, we had already planned to replace every water fountain in the district.  That work will continue.  We will also continue to monitor our water and conduct quality tests as we move forward.

Thank you, as always, for your support.  If you have any questions moving forward please contact me or your school principal.


Dennis McDavid
Berkley School District

Berkley Schools serve Berkley, Huntington Woods and part of Oak Park.

To read what other school districts had to say, check out Local Schools Vary on Testing for Lead in Water.


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