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Donors will cover $3 million cost of hydration stations in Detroit schools

Detroit has shut off the water in its school buildings because of elevated levels of lead and copper.

Donors will help cover much of the $3 million cost of installing water hydration stations at more than 100 schools in the Detroit school district.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the stations will enable the school system to solve a crisis that resulted in drinking water being shut off in all of the district's school facilities.

The donors include 12 businesses and organizations such as Quicken Loans, the United Way of Southeastern Michigan, Delta Dental Foundation and DTE Foundation.

The school board has approved some of the work associated with installing the water hydration stations—a nearly $742,000 contract with Advance Plumbing and Heating Supply to provide 818 Elkay hydration systems and a $1.2 million contract with GDI Integrated Facility Management for the installation of the equipment.

Superintendent Nikolai Vitti ordered the water shut off districtwide in August after the results of testing found elevated levels of lead or copper at some schools.

It'll cost $3 million to buy and install install the water hydration stations. the plan calls for one hydration station for every 100 students — in addition to placing them in gyms, faculty lounges and kitchens.

The hydration stations — which would be installed by next summer — would enable the district to turn the drinking water back on. 

"The water will come from the actual pipes, and there's a filtration system on the hydration station, so that there is zero lead, zero copper," Vitti says.

The district has already secured $2.4 million. In addition, the United Way of Southeastern Michigan - has established a $500,000 match if the district is able to raise another $500,000. That would bring the total amount of donations to $3.4 million.

During a school board meeting in September, Vitti outlined some key features of the water hydration stations:

•They reduce and concentrate drinking water sources to increase the flushing of pipes. They also filters contaminants (including copper and lead) before leaving the source.
•They cool water.
•They promote more water usage by students and staff.

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