Birmingham Public Schools

Inspiring all learners to positively impact their world.

Water testing for lead and copper

Under the recommendations made to schools in August of 2016 by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), the Birmingham Public Schools (BPS) decided on a plan to test all water sources in all of our buildings.

Although the recommendations, as published, indicate the testing of “each tap or fixture providing water for drinking or for food preparation,” BPS has elected to test every water source, regardless of fixture intent (i.e. custodial floor sinks, eye wash stations, science prep sinks, et al).

The MDEQ publication of August 2016 also changed, as well as added, to the standard water testing criteria by lowering the lead content and adding a copper test.   

  • The lead action level in water is 0.015 milligrams per liter (also known as 15 parts per billion).  Prior to this publication the level was at 0.02 mg/L (20 ppb).   
  • The copper action level is set at 1.3 mg/L (1,300 ppb).  Prior to this publication there was no recommendation for the testing of copper levels in water.

The August 1, 2016 memo from the MDEQ is linked here:

MDEQ Guidance on Drinking Water Sampling for Lead and Copper at Schools and Daycares on Community Water Supplies.

During August through October there was discussion with the MDEQ, schools, and ISDs regarding the procedures, requirements and directions of the testing memo. The Oakland ISD produced a Request for Proposal (RFP) for these sample procurement and testing services.The results of that RFP were made available for use to any/all school districts in the state of Michigan.

In November and December of 2016 the district employed TRACE Analytical to secure water samples at each of our district buildings.All sampling was done in accordance with the recommendations/guidelines as provided in the MDEQ guidance document. All testing was done in a State of Michigan certified testing laboratory.


As testing results are returned to the district we are addressing issues and concern areas with each building individually. The district is notifying parents directly via each school and through the BPS Office of Communications and Family Engagement. Results for each building will also be posted here.

Annex at Seaholm High School
Birmingham Covington School (BCS)

Berkshire Middle School

Beverly Elementary

Bingham Farms Elementary

Derby Middle School

Education and Administration Center (EAC)

Greenfield Elementary School

Groves High School

Harlan Elementary

Meadowlake Center

Midvale Center

Operations Building

Pembroke Elementary

Pierce Elementary

Quarton Elementary

Seaholm High School

Transportation & Food Service Building
West Maple Elementary