Thousands of Detroit public school students were told last week to drink from district-supplied water coolers or bottled water on the first day of classes, after the drinking fountains were shut off because of contaminants in some water fixtures.
Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said that elevated levels of lead or copper were found in fixtures at 34 schools. Test results are pending for other schools.
The discovery of contaminated water in Detroit’s schools follows a lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Mich. Eager to not undergo the same health and financial fallout as Flint, officials decided no students in Detroit’s 106 public schools should be subjected to drinking potentially contaminated water until a solution can be found and the water declared safe. School officials believe old fixtures, not the water source, may be to blame.
A version of this article appeared in the September 12, 2018 edition of Education Week as Detroit Schools Turn Off Drinking Fountains After Tests Show Elevated Levels of Lead in Water