Governor Rick Snyder’s Office has recommended that all schools connected to a municipal source test their water for lead.
The recommendation follows Flint’s lead contamination crisis. Thousands of residents were exposed to lead, after the city switched to a more corrosive water source, causing lead to leach from the city’s aging infrastructure.
Schools with their own water source, like a well, are already required by federal law to regularly test their water.
Schools on municipal water systems, their water is tested at the treatment plant — leaving the door open for contaminants to enter the water as it flows to its final destination.
Dave Murray is with the Governor’s Office. “It’s an opportunity to take a look at school facilities. You know, districts are responsible for their facilities. Those are local decisions made by local communities and parents would likely want to know and districts would want to know and everyone wants to keep students safe.”
After the water crisis in Flint Murray said people have a right to be concerned about their water and should do what they can to make sure their kids are safe.
“If a community is concerned about its schools they should have them tested,” Murray said. “The $26 per test is not a tremendous expense for schools for the peace of mind that they’ll get.”
Tests cost $26 dollars per sample. Multiple samples are taken from each drinking or cooking source to get an accurate look at any problems a school might have.
Lead is a heavy metal that used to be common in water pipes and the solder that holds them together. In high levels, lead can severely and permanently affect a child’s development.
Schools in older building or those connected to older infrastructure are at the most risk for high lead levels in the water.
Pamela Pugh is on the State Board of Education. “At the forefront of all of our minds should be the health and well-being of our children and when we talk about childhood lead poisoning we also know that that could impact the academic performance of children.”
The testing recommendations are part of a statewide lead education campaign following the Flint water crisis.
More information about lead and lead testing can be found at http://michigan.gov/lead