BEDFORD PUBLIC SCHOOLS
WATER QUALITY SAMPLING
Bedford Public Schools is undertaking a voluntary and proactive survey to ensure a safe drinking water supply in our district facilities for our students, staff, volunteers and guests. We are taking water samples to check for lead in our drinking water. While we are under no legal requirements to undergo any type of testing for this, in the aftermath of the Flint water crisis, we felt it would offer some comfort and peace of mind to assess our facilities and to address any areas of concern that might be revealed as a result of this testing process.
Sampling is being done by the Buildings and Grounds Department employees and will be paid for from the Buildings and Grounds Department budget for Maintenance and Operations. Bedford Public Schools will also be participating in the School Drinking Water Quality Reimbursement Program. This is a joint program between the Michigan Department of Education and the Department of Environmental quality designed to provide school funding for costs associated with the mitigation of potential lead exposure from drinking water. Up to $950 is available per school building on a reimbursement basis for the cost of testing for lead in drinking water, fixture replacement, filter purchases, plumbing assessments, or technical assistance incurred between July 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017.
HOW LEAD CAN GET IN OUR DRINKING WATER
Each of our school buildings had samples returned with no detection of lead in them so we know that our water is arriving from our source (South County Water System) with no issues. Once the water is delivered to our buildings, lead can be picked up through contact with a lead based solder or from fixtures constructed from materials containing lead as the water sits in the piping or fixtures. This is less of an issue for newer construction since Congress passed a law in 1986 banning the use of lead solder containing great than 0.2% lead and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes, and other plumbing materials to 8.0%.
HOW WE SAMPLED
Samples were taken in each of our buildings using a representational method. For example, if a building has 12 drinking fountains of 3 different models, one of each of the models would be tested. A high result in one particular model would indicate that we would need to look at all of the other similar fixtures. If one came back high, corrective action would be taken, through repair or replacement, and then resampled to ensure that action was effective in lowering lead content to acceptable levels. If effective, that action could then be expanded to all similar models.
End of line samples
Sample locations at the end of plumbing lines would ensure that the entire length of the plumbing lines could be accounted for in the sampling and rule out any issues between where the water enters our facility and that very last room at the end of the hall.
First Draw vs. Flush samples
Initial samples are taken with a first draw sample. The water sits undisturbed for a period of at least 6 hours and is taken from a cold water source. A high result from this sample could be followed up with a flush sample. This is done after the water runs through the fixture for a period of time and helps pinpoint if the elevated levels came from contact with the fixture components, or as that water was flushed out of the fixture, if it came from contact with the plumbing lines prior to reaching the fixture.
WHO DID THE SAMPLE TESTING AND ANALYSIS
Samples were analyzed by National Testing Laboratories, LTD of Ypsilanti, MI.
WHAT THE NUMBERS MEAN
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established an action level for 15 parts per billion (ppb) for Public Water Systems. In our case, this is the number that South County Water is legally required to comply with and our water supply from them is not supposed to exceed that number. We have no concerns with lead content in our water supply from South County Water. The EPA's recommended action level for lead in drinking water, the water that comes out of our faucets at the point of consumption, is 20 parts per billion (ppb).
These EPA levels for lead are not a health standard. For this reason, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) is recommending that schools take action to lower the lead in their drinking water if the test results are over 5 ppb, which is the bottled water standard. This is a recommendation and not a legal requirement at this point. Bedford Public School has made the decision to voluntarily, and proactively, test and implement lead reduction actions, where necessary, with the goal of having direct consumption sources of water that are used for drinking and cooking to be no higher than the 5 ppb level.
WHO WE CONSULTED WITH
The Superintendent at the time, Mark Kleinhans, had reached out to representatives at the following agencies for explanations, clarification, and guidance on the various regulations and requirements:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Chicago (office for our region)
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ)
Monroe County Health Department
In conversations with the people at each of these agencies, they commented about how great it was that our district was doing this and that we should be commended for our efforts since this is not something school districts are required to do.
PUBLIC INFORMATION BULLETINS WITH OUR TESTING RESULTS
These bulletins contain general information about lead in drinking water as well as the sample test results that have been returned to us.
Douglas Road Elementary
Jackman Road Elementary (revised 5/25/2017)
Monroe Road Elementary (revised 5/24/2017)
Bedford Junior High School (revised 5/24/2017)
Bedford High School (revised 5/24/2017)
Transportation/Buildings & Grounds
Smith Road Elementary
Temperance Road Elementary
FIND OUT MORE
For more information, please contact the Superintendent at 734-850-6002.
Periodic updates will continue to be provided as this process continues.