October 24, 2018 - Testing for Lead in Drinking Water

I want to ensure that you receive regular updates regarding our work with the AAPS Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program.

My team and I continue to work on the drinking water quality issue every day. We also continue our work in consultation with water quality experts as well as with Washtenaw County Health officials in this effort.

We are making significant progress.

Part of all of the work we do in the Ann Arbor Public Schools is to attend to the health and wellbeing of all of our students and staff and to that end, we also are focusing on the quality of 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.

Most recent updates:

Water Source Advisement for All

In the near term, we encourage students, staff, and all in our schools to use trusted water sources to obtain drinking water. We encourage the use of the NSF certified lead filtered hydration stations currently installed in all AAPS buildings.

Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Program

We are aggressively working through the 2018-19 water testing cycle beginning with preschool, elementary, and K-8 locations. This testing process has been expanded by five times as we are testing all drinking water sources, so this process represents a significant effort across the 32 AAPS buildings.  

As we move through this current cycle of testing, here are some things you can expect.

In the AAPS, we will:

  • report testing results directly to parents, staff and community on a regular basis, school by school, and post all testing results and any necessary mitigation actions taken on our website,
  • report testing results via a message directly to parents at each school in addition to public/website display of testing results and associated actions,
  • remove from service any drinking water source locations that flag at >5ppb until they are successfully repaired and retested. Note that it is also possible during this process that some drinking water locations may be removed from school, if this is the best step to ensure quality water, and
  • during this testing process, all locations not designated as drinking water sources will be labeled, 'this water not for drinking,' as a reminder for all.

AAPS Water Expert Consultation and Advisement

We continue regular consultation with water quality experts and professionals, who are widely respected work at the university level in water research or the water quality industry. These competent individuals advise and inform our current work in the district, and we are grateful for their expertise in this effort.

In addition, we continue to coordinate our efforts with the Washtenaw County Health Department as partners on this community public health issue. Ms. Jenna Bacolor, MPH, who serves as Executive Director, AAPS Community Division, ensures this public health partnership work, as she has for several years.

We look forward to assembling an AAPS water quality advisory group of experts who will continue to advise the district into the future, and will share more on this effort in time. 

Hydration Station Project for Board Action on Wednesday, October 24th

The Board of Education will review a recommendation to install 200 additional NSF certified lead filtered hydration stations in our AAPS schools later this evening.

This is an aggressive step that will ensure a lead filtered hydration station, approximately 1 for every 100 occupants of our buildings, to provide reasonable access for all in AAPS buildings.

Projected cost is in excess of $1M, to be paid from Sinking Fund, and we have every confidence that the Board will move forward with this recommendation so we may continue our brisk work to ensure ready access to quality water across the AAPS. 

Updated AAPS Testing for Lead in Drinking Water Information

To access all the information and the most recent notices on this issue, we maintain updated information at: a2schools.org/watertesting 

The Ann Arbor Public Schools continues among the most aggressive school districts in Michigan and across the nation in monitoring and addressing any levels of lead in drinking water for our students and staff.

The issue of ensuring safe drinking water is a critical concern for me, for our Board and leadership team as well as AAPS staff and community; we are working diligently to make significant progress in this situation, and I appreciate your support in this important work today. 



Jeanice K. Swift

Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools