Detroit’s public schools are the latest ones to face a clean water crisis.
Last month, the Detroit Public Schools Community District turned off drinking water inside all school buildings after some schools showed high levels of copper and led. Now, it is being reported that out of more than 100 public schools in the district, at least 57 have tested positive for lead and/or copper. The results for 17 more schools has not been revealed yet.
It is unclear what is causing the high levels of copper and lead, but it is suspected that the schools’ aging plumbing systems are to blame. The district initiated the water testing last year and tested for lead and copper from all water sources including sinks and drinking fountains.
This comes more than four years since the clean water crisis in Flint began, a city located about an hour from Detroit.
Recent tests conducted by both independent parties and government-run organizations have shown the lead level in Flint has dropped back below the federal action level after the city switched their water source from Flint River back to the Detroit water system. The state has stopped providing free bottled water to residents and instead offers water filters for free.
Many Flint residents, including Mayor Karen Weaver, are still skeptical of the state’s announcement that the water is now safe again. That is because they have heard that the water is “safe” before. Back in 2015, both Flint’s emergency manager and a spokesmen for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality assured the residents that extensive testing showed the water was safe. The water remained poisonous for months after that.
Lead consumption can cause impaired cognition, kidney and heart problems, hearing problems and more.