Dear Students, Parents, Staff, and Community Members,
As part of the work we do in the Bellevue Public Schools to attend to the health and wellbeing of all our students and staff, we have our attention on the quality of the drinking water in our schools. We are committed to achieving the lowest possible levels of lead in drinking water in the buildings of our district and take very seriously the risks associated with lead exposure, particularly with our youngest children. Therefore, this past spring, we decided to voluntarily partner with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to test all our drinking water for lead at all locations thought to be used for drinking or food preparation, as well as all sinks/faucets and water sources in classrooms, restrooms, and staff areas.
The phases of our efforts consisted of an initial plumbing assessment that was conducted on January 30th 2023 and followed by onsite sampling of all water access points by a representative of MDHHS on July 27th 2023. 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. Our results are very consistent with other schools in the area that have already undergone this process.
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. Bellevue Public Schools agrees with EGLE and MDHHS and believes that there is no good level of lead.
Laboratory analysis for Bellevue Public Schools indicated that there are a few water access points (Elementary = 12; Jr/Sr High = 12) 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 Bellevue 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. We put hand washing only signs on all classroom sinks even if the water tested good.
● There are lead reduction water filters on bottle filling drinking fountains
Some corrective actions that we will be taking in the near future include:
●Further testing to see where lead is coming from.
● Educating Students and Staff regarding the importance of letting water run for 30 seconds. ● Cleaning aerators and screens more frequently.
● 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.
Please read the attached notice and 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 269-441-0514 and/or email me at Robbinsj@bellevue-schools.com. For additional information regarding the
EGLE Water Quality Safety Initiative contact Ms. Holly Gohlke, School Drinking Water Coordinator (EGLE) at Gohlkeh@Michigan.gov.