Lead found in drinking water at Carman Park-Baker Academy

FLINT TWP.—Bottled water is being provided for students at Carman Park-Baker Career Academy as a precaution resulting from unacceptable lead levels found in water from one drinking fountain at the school, 3375 Van Campen Drive, according to a parental advisory issued Monday May 2 by Superintendent Steve Tunnicliff.

Water testing at all C-A buildings was done over spring break in April as a proactive measure, Tunnicliff said. As stated in his previous advisory sent out Feb. 2, he emphasized that none of the C-A school buildings are supplied by the City of Flint water system, thus none have been impacted by the change to Flint River water that caused the Flint Water Crisis. C-A’s Rankin Elementary has a well system as its water source and other building are supplied by Flint Township which gets it water from the City of Detroit.

Flint Schools have been supplied with bottled water since October 2015 as a result of high lead levels in City of Flint water that pose a public health danger, especially to children.

C-A officials elected to follow the lead of other school districts throughout Michigan, which in recent months, have taken “proactive measures to test the quality of their water as a result of the understandable concern over water quality in general,” Tunnicliff said.

In its recent testing, C-A’s preliminary water sampling consisted of a drinking fountain in each building and also any faucets used in food preparation (in those buildings where food is prepared). Of the 18 samples taken, 16 had a lead level result of “undetected.”

The two exceptions were a drinking fountain at C-A’s Transportation Office (not used by students), and a drinking fountain at Carman Park- Baker Career Academy High. Both test results fell within acceptable levels, according to standards set by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

As a precautionary measure, it was decided to retest the fountain at Carman Park-Baker Career although the initial level detected was within allowable limits. In this second analysis of the same drinking fountain, the lead levels exceeded allowable limits, Tunnicliff said.

“We immediately shut off this drinking fountain and will seek additional testing this week in order to determine if the issue is specific to this particular drinking fountain,” he said.

Also as a precaution, any faucets that could be used for drinking water in the building have also been shut off. Bottled water will be supplied to students and staff in the interim, during further testing.

Baker College will immediately replace the drinking fountain with a water filtration unit, Tunnicliff said.

Baker College of Flint owns this school building and partners with Carman-Ainsworth to provide a high school/early college advanced program. Further findings from additional testing will be communicated when they become available, he said.

“We recognize that this preliminary testing is just a start to a larger process of ongoing water testing. Student and staff safety is our primary objective, which is why we chose to be proactive in voluntarily testing our schools, and we are committed to this ongoing effort into the future,” he said. – Rhonda Sanders

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