Water Testing in AAPS Buildings



  • Testing for Lead in AAPS Drinking Water

    Phase 1 Results

    Superintendent Communication
    Thursday, November 8, 2018

    As part of all of the work we do in the Ann Arbor Public Schools to attend to the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff, we also have our attention on the quality of our drinking water in our schools. We are committed to achieving the lowest possible levels of lead in drinking water in the AAPS, and we take very seriously the risks associated with lead exposure, particularly with our youngest children.

    Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program

    We have voluntarily tested water annually in all AAPS schools since spring, 2016. During this current 2018-19 testing cycle, we have reduced the AAPS action level from >15 parts per billion (ppb), established as an action level by the EPA, to >5ppb, the FDA standard for bottled water. We have also expanded the AAPS testing program to evaluate all drinking water locations in all schools across the district.

    I am writing today to share the results of lead in drinking water testing from ten Phase 1 schools. Testing has been completed at: Westerman Preschool, Abbot, Bach, Dicken, Eberwhite, Haisley, Lakewood, Lawton, Pattengill, and Pathways.
  • water testing graphic
  • 2018-19 AAPS Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program, Phase 1 Results:

    From the Phase 1 set of ten school campuses, 456 drinking water source locations:

    • 433, or 95% of locations, meet or exceed the AAPS standard, testing at 5ppb or below,
    • an additional 18 locations or 4%, test below the EPA action level of 15ppb for municipal public water sources and,
    • at 5 locations, or 1% of the 456 locations tested, water samples flagged above the AAPS and EPA action level.

    AAPS Actions Taken in Response to Testing Results

    Drinking water sources that test below the AAPS action threshold of 5ppb are left in service for drinking consumption. Sources that flag at >5ppb are taken out of service. Appropriate remediation/mitigation/replacement activities are then completed. Once replacement activities are completed, further testing is done to ensure the new drinking water fixture tests below the threshold of >5ppb. Only when this level is demonstrated, the fixture is returned to service.

    Throughout this testing for lead in drinking water process, we have coordinated our AAPS efforts with our partners at the Washtenaw County Health Department, who today have shared this statement:

    “Washtenaw County Health Department appreciates Ann Arbor Public School’s voluntary lead testing and information sharing,” said Kristen Schweighoefer, MPH, RS, Environmental Health Director with Washtenaw County Health Department. “We are supportive of their plans for complete follow up, which include testing all drinking water fixtures and using the >5 parts per billion threshold for action. They are following appropriate guidelines from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and these are the most conservative guidelines I have seen.”

    The AAPS anticipates sharing testing results for completion of 2018-19 testing:

    • Phase 2 - Remaining elementary & K-8 campuses - December, 2018
    • Phase 3 - middle and high school locations - January, 2019

    The comprehensive 2018-19 Annual Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Report is anticipated to be shared with the Board in late January, 2019.

    If you would like to see more detail on testing results at your school, the specific room-by-room results of the Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program 2018-19 may be viewed here:

    If you should have additional questions regarding lead and your child’s health, parents are advised to consult with their pediatrician and/or reach out to Washtenaw County Health Department at 734-544-6700.

    As a reminder, additional steps we are currently taking to ensure the lowest possible levels of lead in our AAPS school drinking water include:

    1. Filtered water bottle filling stations are now installed in all our AAPS schools and we encourage students and staff to use these locations to obtain water for consumption. 
    2. Continue the flushing of all water systems following school breaks, such as summer, Thanksgiving, winter break, and spring break. 
    3. Inventory of all water sources in the district. This effort is currently in process and is expected to be complete by January.
    4. Install signage in low priority locations, such as custodial closets, etc. to remind everyone that water in these locations is not for consumption. 
    5. Testing for Lead In Drinking Water Program Information and Testing Results will be communicated directly to all AAPS parents via email and website, and will be shared as an Annual Report to the Board of Education in January, 2019, to ensure the Board and community receive this information updated directly each year. 

    In the Ann Arbor Public Schools, we are committed to the health and well being of all our children and staff, and to the important work of preventing and addressing levels of lead in school drinking water. We look forward to maintaining our position as a leading school district in the state and across the country on this very critical issue of student health and safety.

    Additional information regarding AAPS Lead in Drinking Water Program and links to other valuable resources may be located at: a2schools.org/water testing.

    Sincerely,

    Swift signature

    Jeanice Kerr Swift
    Superintendent of Schools
    Ann Arbor Public Schools



    AAPS Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program

    As part of all of the work we do in the Ann Arbor Public Schools to attend to the health and wellbeing of all of our students and staff, we also have our attention on the quality of our drinking water in our schools. We are committed to achieving the lowest possible levels of lead in drinking water in the AAPS, and take very seriously the risks associated with lead exposure, particularly with our youngest children.

    Lab flask with water We have voluntarily tested water annually in all AAPS schools since spring, 2016, and in previous years, we have addressed any and all issues of parts per billion (ppb) measures of >15ppb, established as an action level by the EPA.

    The 2018-19 water testing cycle for lead in drinking water is currently in progress.

    With the overall goal of the program to reduce exposure to lead, in this current round of testing we are also lowering the threshold for when we implement the AAPS protocol for addressing an issue. Beginning with 2018-19 testing, remediation efforts will be implemented when lead levels are at >5 ppb.

    drinking fountain cartoon In addition, we are currently working to replace older water fixtures in schools, and installing water bottle filling stations with NSF certified lead filters. To help guide us in this work we will complete an inventory of all drinking water sources across the AAPS.

    Testing in AAPS schools is focused on all drinking water and food preparation locations, including all high-priority sites such as drinking fountains, kitchen sinks, and classroom water fixtures. Water testing is conducted by Arch Environmental Group, professional partners to AAPS on environmental issues. Arch Environmental Group fulfills a similar service for 47 other school districts in Michigan.

    The AAPS protocol for addressing the issue, when lead levels read at >5ppb, may include replacing water fixtures, installing certified lead filters and, in some cases, replacing water pipes behind the fixture, which is the protocol indicated by water quality experts.

    Next steps: 

    1. Install water bottle filling stations with NSF certified lead filters in all our AAPS schools and encourage students and staff to use these as preferred locations to obtain water for consumption.
    2. With the 2018-19 water testing cycle, ensure all drinking water and food preparation sources are tested in every AAPS school building.
    3. Continue the flushing of all water systems following school breaks, such as summer, Thanksgiving, winter break, and spring break.
    4. Complete an inventory of all drinking water sources to ensure attention is paid to all fixtures across the district.
    5. Implement appropriate remediation/mitigation activities for any drinking water source locations measuring >5ppb across the district.
    6. Education for students, staff, and parents: with aged infrastructure across the country, our AAPS community faces the possibility of consuming water containing lead anywhere they go, so following best practices beginning with teaching our students to always obtain drinking water from trusted sources.
    7. Install signage in low priority locations, such as bathroom sinks, custodial closets, etc. to advise that water in these locations is not for consumption.
    8. Add AAPS Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program Information as an Annual Report to the Board of Education (as was done in 2016), to ensure the Board and community receive this information updated directly each year.
    9. As we have done since spring, 2016, we will continue to post results of AAPS Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program on the AAPS website.

    drop of water cartoon In the Ann Arbor Public Schools, we are committed to the work of preventing and addressing levels of lead in school drinking water, and look forward to maintaining our position as a leading school district in the state on this very critical issue of student health and safety.