2 Rochester Hills schools closed Tuesday due to mercury level in water

Van Hoosen Middle School, Rochester Adams High School impacted

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. - Van Hoosen Middle School and Rochester Adams High School will be closed Tuesday due to water quality concerns, Rochester Community Schools announced.

There will be no school for students in sixth through 11th grades, but Adams High School seniors will receive a separate email providing information about an alternate site and transportation for testing, according to the school website.

According to an email from the school to parents, a laboratory manager and research professor at Arizona State University had concerns about a water sampling that was sent by one of the Rochester teachers during a science experiment.

"The safety of our students is always our priority," the email said. "Although the tests were not conducted by certified personnel or sent to a certified lab for testing water quality, we still take these concerns very seriously."

The water source feeds both Van Hoosen Middle School and Rochester Adams High School, so drinking water sources at both schools were disabled, and the students were dismissed early.

The ASU report showed that a Van Hoosen Middle School science room faucet has mercury levels significantly higher than the maximum contaminant level published by Environmental Protection Agency.

Three samples were tested: one from Van Hoosen Middle School, one from Paint Creek and one from Sargent Creek. The average sampling was 0.056 mg/L or 56 ppb. The EPA maximum contaminant level goal for mercury is 0.002 mg/L or 2 ppb.

School officials contacted officials from the city of Rochester Hills, the Oakland County Health Department and an independent environmental consulting firm, Nova Environmental.

To confirm the water quality, officials from the Rochester Hills Department of Public Works is sampling water at both schools. The samples will be forwarded to a certified lab for testing.

The results are expected to be available Tuesday.

Here is the full statement posted on the Rochester Community Schools website:

"Van Hoosen Middle School and Rochester Adams High School will be closed on Tuesday, May 22, due to water quality concerns. There will be no school for students in 6th through 11th grade.

"Adams High School seniors can expect to receive a separate email message providing detailed information about an alternate site and transportation for testing. We are truly sympathetic to those Adams High School seniors whose test schedules were impacted by the early dismissal. The timing is certainly not ideal, but we are doing everything we can to keep our students and staff safe."

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