Detroit schools shut off drinking water after tests show elevated lead, copper

The Detroit public school district turned off drinking water on Wednesday after test results showed that two-thirds of its schools had elevated levels of lead or copper.

The Detroit Free Press reported that Nikolai Vitti, the superintendent of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, said the action was taken "out of an abundance of caution."

Test results showed that 16 of 24 schools had elevated copper and lead levels, The Free Press reported. The district is waiting for test results in other buildings, but it has no evidence that levels are too high there, Vitti said.


"Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of our students and employees, I am turning off all drinking water in our schools until a deeper and broader analysis can be conducted to determine the long-term solutions for all schools," Vitti said in a statement.

The district had previously shut off water at 18 other schools after Vitti ordered testing at all 106 school buildings in the spring, the Free Press reported.

Concerns about water safety in Detroit come as the state continues to deal with the health crisis in Flint, Mich.

The state revealed in 2015 that due to a switch in Flint’s water source meant to save money, the city’s water pipes had corroded, contaminating the drinking water with lead.

A Michigan judge said earlier this month that the state's health director will face criminal charges for two deaths linked to a Legionnaires' disease outbreak connected to the Flint water issues.