South Lyon: School District Response to Lead Testing Inquiry

essentialTOPtempSouth Lyon: School District wrightADJENtallResponse to Lead Testing Inquiry

(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 27, 2016)

South Lyon, 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 fixtures 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 ctechadschool districts from throughout Oakland County to find out where they stand on testing.  Here is what Maureen E. Altermatt, Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services, South Lyon Community Schools had to say…

Ms. Proxmire,

Mrs. Baker, our Superintendent, forwarded me your request for information.

SLCS did test our water proactively.  Below is an email we sent to the school community on March 17th that summarizes our testing.

The report is posted on our website with the March 21st Board meeting agenda.

http://www.slcs.us/board_of_education/docs/Arch%20Environmental%20Report%20(Water%20Testing).pdf

We have replaced the all the faucets in the two kitchens, and are currently working with our garden16_andrew_sarpolisconsultant, Arch Environmental Group, to develop a plan for ongoing water testing.

As shared previously, the District contracted with Arch Environmental Group (AEG) regarding lead testing of water, and they recommended screening as a proactive approach to testing drinking water for lead in our buildings.  A total of 48 samples were taken (45 in K-12 buildings and 3 in our Early Childhood Center) on March 5th.  As part of the sampling procedures, water was collected from one of the multiple sinks/faucets in the kitchens, as well as from drinking fountains, at all of the buildings tested.  Two (2) of the samples indicated a lead level above the EPA suggested level.

AEG collected follow-up samples from the two locations with elevated lead to determine if the source of lead contamination is from the fixture or from the interior plumbing to determine appropriate corrective actions.  The District received the results of this follow up testing and we are happy to report that the lead level was below the EPA suggested level.  mendoza adAccording to AEG, this suggests that these two fixtures are the likely culprit of the higher lead level.  These fixtures will be replaced, and in the meantime, they continue to be shut off and not used in any capacity. Once the fixtures are replaced, we will conduct first draw samples from these sinks prior to utilization. 

We would like to note that on Tuesday, March 15th, the MDEQ released a document entitled “Guide to Lead Sampling for Schools and Daycares”. We will likely be using this document as guidance for all future testing in the District.  Also, we will be releasing the written report from AEG on the recent testing once we receive it.  We expect to receive this report on Friday, March 18th.

The District is in the process of taking a full inventory of all faucets and drinking fountains, and will be taking proposals for addition testing in the near future.

Maureen E. Altermatt

Assistant Superintendent for Administrative Services
South Lyon Community Schools”

South Lyon Community Schools cover 83 square miles, including Lyon Township, the City of South Lyon and portions of Novi.

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

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