November 8, 2018 - Testing for Lead in Drinking Water, Phase 1 Results

Hello AAPS Students & Staff, Families & Community,

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.

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: testing.



Swift signature

Jeanice Kerr Swift
Superintendent of Schools
Ann Arbor Public Schools