Howell Public Schools Completes Extensive Second Round of Water Testing At Northwest Elementary
During a second round of extensive water testing at Northwest
Elementary School conducted by the City of Howell and Howell Public
Schools that included 30 samples from 23 sites within the school, the
majority of the results found either no detection of lead or amounts
that were below the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) action
level. The EPA’s action level is 15 parts per billion (ppb). At
Northwest Elementary 16 samples found no detection of lead and 14
samples found lead. Of the 14 samples, 11 samples were below the EPA’s
action level and tested between 1 ppb and 12 ppb. Three samples did come
back above EPA action level at 19 ppb, 24 ppb and 130 ppb. These
samples were from seldom used fixtures. The result that returned at 19
ppb was from a drinking fountain, the result that returned at 24 ppb was
from a nonpublic consumption point and the result that returned at 130
ppb was from a sink. In the case of the later, a sample from the
drinking fountain connected to the same fixture returned at 3.1 ppb.
Samples were tested by two independent state certified laboratories.
only some samples returned positive for lead, it is believed that the
fixtures in those locations are the cause of the positive test results.
As a precaution, any fixture where a water sample returned positive for
lead, even those that were below the EPA action level, will be replaced.
These fixtures will remain out of service until replacement occurs.
Replacement of the fixtures will take place after school hours as to not
interrupt instructional time. Howell Public Schools will maintain water
coolers and portable water at Northwest Elementary until all of the
identified fixtures have been replaced. According to the EPA, a common
cause for a positive lead water test is older plumbing fixtures such as
brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder, from
which lead can enter into the water, especially hot water.
initial tests that came back positive for lead, we began extensive
water testing at Northwest Elementary. The majority of results from the
second round of tests showed no detection of lead or were below the
EPA’s action level. Two samples did show levels above the EPA’s action
level” said Erin MacGregor, Howell Public Schools, superintendent.
“While the majority of tests that came back positive for lead were below
the EPA’s action level, they are unacceptable to us. We will
immediately begin replacing any fixture that tested positive for lead,
even those that were below the EPA’s action level. Until each of these
fixtures has been replaced, we will continue to maintain water coolers
and bottled water at the school to ensure that our students and staff
have access to safe drinking water.”
In 2012, the City of Howell
replaced the water main feeding Northwest Elementary as part of its
multi-year street program. The city was able to verify during the 2012
construction that the connection to Northwest Elementary meets current
EPA and Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) standards.
The City of Howell has been in full compliance with Federal and State
environmental lead requirements since their inception in 1986. The
city’s proactive corrosion control program predated the city’s new water
plant which began production in 1992. While this program prevents water
from corroding metal pipes, it will not prevent lead components such as
fixtures and lead solder from leaching lead into water that sits for
long periods of time.
“I would like to thank the City of Howell
and the Livingston County Health Department for their support during
this process. Both organizations have been instrumental in providing
assistance and guidance to our district as we work to ensure that all
students have access to safe drinking water,” said MacGregor.
tests from Southeast, Southwest and Challenger elementary schools came
back as “lead safe” with no detection of lead in the water. Howell
Public Schools will continue to complete water testing at its buildings.
As results are received, they will be shared with the community.
Northwest Elementary Water Test Results Parent Letter 2.23.16(DOC file - 398.8kb)