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High Levels of Lead Found in Water at Detroit Schools

Students Forced to Drink Bottled Water, Use Coolers

On the first day of classes Tuesday, thousands of Detroit public school students drank from water coolers instead of fountains after high lead levels were detected in fixtures at some of the buildings.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said last week that water fountains would be shut down across the entire district following the discovery of high levels of lead or copper in some fixtures at about 34 schools.

Vitti said the cost of coolers and bottled water will be $200,000 over two months.

The discovery follows a water crisis in Flint in 2014 and 2015, in which city officials failed to properly treat corrosive water pulled from the Flint River. As a result, lead in old pipes contaminated the water going into thousands of homes and businesses, leading it to stream from household taps as a brown and smelly fluid.

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