Sault Area Public Schools Water Quality
Maintaining Healthy Drinking Water in our Schools
January 12, 2023
Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools
876 Marquette Ave.
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Dear Parents, Guardian, and Staff:
As part of our efforts at Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools to attend to the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff, we examined the quality of the drinking water in our schools. We are committed to achieving the lowest possible levels of lead in drinking water in all buildings and take very seriously the risks associated with lead exposure, particularly with our youngest children. Therefore, we voluntarily participated in a grant program and decided to test our drinking water for lead at all locations used for drinking or food preparation. Please read this notice closely to learn what we are doing to proactively investigate and reduce the risk of lead exposure in our drinking water.
The phases of our efforts consisted of an initial plumbing assessment that was conducted during October 2022 and followed by onsite sampling of all water access points by a representative of MDHHS during our holiday break. The collected water samples were then sent to the Michigan Department of EGLE for laboratory testing. The results of the testing were recently made available to us, and we are already taking corrective actions to eliminate a few potential sources of lead contamination. This is not a cause for alarm. Testing is a routine way to learn about the safety of our drinking water and make improvements as necessary.
Because of the known risks of lead exposure to children, especially those younger than six years of age, EGLE and MDHHS strongly advocate that schools and childcare centers take measures to ensure that drinking and cooking water does not exceed 5 ppb. Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools agrees with EGLE and MDHHS and believes that there is no good level of lead.
Laboratory analysis for Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools indicated that there are a few water access points that tested above the 5 ppb threshold. Per EGLE and MDHHS staff, the most common source of lead in school and childcare water sources results from stagnant water that remains in contact with brass fittings and fixtures that are not regularly used or flushed. Prior to 2014, the federally permissible level of lead in brass plumbing fittings and fixtures was up to 8%. After 2014, the federally permissible level of lead in brass and brass alloy plumbing fittings and fixtures was reduced to 0.25%. Therefore, it is the goal of Sault Ste. Marie Area Public Schools to keep our children and staff as safe as possible and to immediately reduce possible exposure to lead by eliminating detectable lead at all identified water access points through corrective actions.
Some of the immediate corrective actions that we have already taken include:
● Posting signage at specific water access points that advises that the water is not to be used for drinking and may be used for handwashing and cleaning purposes only.
● Taking certain faucets/fixtures out of service until remedied.
● Ordering threaded heavy-metal faucet filters for installation upon arrival.
Some corrective actions that we will be taking in the near future include:
● Replacing water access point fittings and fixtures in locations where water is needed.
● Removing water access points in locations where water may no longer be needed.
● Educating students and staff regarding the importance of letting water run for 30 seconds.
● Cleaning aerators and screens.
● Developing and implementing a comprehensive district water system flushing plan.
● Partnering again with EGLE and MDHHS to retest after corrective actions have been completed. This usually occurs within 6-12 months of the initial testing.
For more information on reducing the risk of lead exposure, go to www.Michigan.gov/MiLeadSafe. If you have questions or would like to review our test results, please call me at 906-635-3839 and/or email Tom Nelson firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information regarding the EGLE Water Quality Safety Initiative, contact Ms. Holly Gohlke, School Drinking Water Coordinator (EGLE) at Gohlkeh@Michigan.gov.
Amy Scott-Kronemeyer, Superintendent