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Lead found in water at Michigan School for the Deaf campus building

Jan 21, 2016

Officials say lead has been found in water at a building on the Michigan School for the Deaf 's campus in Flint.

In a letter to the parents and guardians of the school's students, Principal Cecelia Winkler and Administrative Manager Mark Bouvy confirmed that the water in Stevens Hall, one of the school's dormitories, is tainted with lead.

"Yesterday (1/19/16), we received the first lead positive water test for the Stevens Hall dormitory (the school building continues to show no lead detected). According to the recent test, there is lead present in the water in Stevens Hall. All of us at MSD are grateful that we took the extra precaution to stop using Flint water for anything other than bathing, regardless of what the official reports said."

The letter also confirmed the extra precautionary steps the school has taken as a result.

"Our research shows that lead is not absorbed through the skin but ingested. As a further precaution, we are exploring options for filtering water for showering in Stevens Hall, and in the interim, students have the option of showering in the school locker room (which is presumed lead-free pending further testing)." 

Michigan School for the Deaf
Credit (photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

No lead was detected in water at the school building. However, the letter states that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is set to arrive on campus in two weeks to organize additional testing of all the water coming into the school building, including each classroom and residential unit. 

The school says it's been purchasing bottled water since September, and had no positive tests for lead prior to the latest result. The Flint Journal reports the school didn't release details about the amount of lead found in the water.

Additionally, school administrators confirmed they have been in contact with the Genesee County Health Department to organize a blood testing site that will test any student for possible lead contamination.

Flint's water became contaminated with lead when the city began drawing from the Flint River in 2014 as a cost-cutting measure while under state financial management. It was not properly treated to keep lead from pipes and plumbing from leaching into the water.

-Amelia Zak, Michigan Radio Newsroom