November 1, 2019
Dear River Oaks Community,
Recent news stories regarding water quality in Dearborn Heights has raised some questions regarding the water here at River Oaks. Since this topic might be on the minds of others as well, I thought it would be best to share a few thoughts with everyone this evening.
First and foremost, I want to express that there is not a water problem at our school. The reason for this communication is to make sure all parents have the same accurate information and to continue to keep our line of communication open between school and home.
The Dearborn Public Schools has been testing water and air quality in buildings for more than 20 years. When a concern is discovered, the District takes immediate action, corrects any possible issues, and works to ensure a safe school environment. In addition, each school has a building engineer, a highly qualified employee responsible for maintaining the HVAC, water, and other safety systems in the building. Most districts do not have this position.
Water testing is not mandated or required but in 2016 the district took a proactive approach to its ongoing voluntary water testing program by hiring an independent company to do a systematic test of 572 of the District’s 4,000 plus water outlets in schools and other district buildings. River Oaks was part of that testing and results showed no elevated levels of lead or copper. Our school will be tested again in the weeks ahead to continue this ongoing proactive approach to maintaining safe conditions at our school.
Whenever an issue is discovered corrective action is taken immediately. Corrective actions may include establishing proper flushing protocols, minor repairs, or complete replacement. At River Oaks our engineer and custodial staff follow prescribed protocols to ensure our water is safe.
According to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the action level for lead in water is 15 parts per billion (ppb) and for copper 1.3 parts per million (ppm) or 1,300 ppb. In 2025 the level for lead is changing to 12 ppb. A way to visualize one part per billion (ppb) is to think of one drop of water in an Olympic size swimming pool.
In addition to testing, monitoring, and following proper water handling protocols our school has added a hydration station. These water fountains provide cool filtered water to students and help to reduce the number of plastic bottles we use in school.
Again, I want to assure students, parents, and staff that the water in our school is safe. It is important to have this conversation, answer these questions, and put concerns to rest so that your children will be ready to come to school eager to learn in a safe and secure school environment.