Everett’s Water Situation: Update

Five months after Everett shut off access to its water fountains, the district says that water is again flowing clean in the building. On February 21th, interim superintendent Sam Sinicropi made a statement saying that the water is now open at Everett.

“The drinking water system is now open at Everett and the water is now clean and clear,” said interim superintendent Sam Sinicropi. “Our plan moving forward will include preventative maintenance, and we will continue to monitor the drinking water quality in the future.” 

“Thank you to the Everett Family for your patience and understanding as we worked to resolve this issue,” said Sinicropi.

For some, the journey to clean water took much longer than necessary. Weeks after shutting off the water, it seemed like progress had stalled. On December 2, 2019, the previous Interim Acting Superintendent Delsa Chapman sent a letter out to the Everett High School family to give an update about the water issues at Everett. It said that while progress had been made, water stations were still being utilized for clean water. No date was given for the completion of fixes. 

“This prompted the district to proceed with testing water from many locations at Everett. Results showed three of those original fountains were dispersing water with slightly higher levels of lead than Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards,” Chapman wrote in the letter.

Because of this, some parents were concerned about lead in their student’s system. 

“My mom has been aware, she had us tested for lead in our system,” said junior Mohamed Dhagane. “I tested negative but the scare was definitely there.”

At the beginning of February, water fountains were still out of order at Everett.

“It has shown me how the school prioritizes situations,” said freshman Corina Seymour. “I think it’s crazy how the school still hasn’t followed their promises and hasn’t made it a necessity.”

Even though the Everett community was looking forward to the water issues being resolved quickly, that wasn’t the case.

“We have completed a ‘full flush’ of the entire water system at the school and a new filtration system is scheduled to be installed by tomorrow,” Chapman wrote in the December letter.

Months since students had access to clean faucet water at Everett, many people were wondering when the issues will be resolved. Kattie White, Director of Operations for Lansing School District, had good news in a recent interview via email.

“We are nearing the end of the water issue that was present at Everett,” said White. While she didn’t give a specific date, White said that the situation is nearing a resolution.

“We had to flush the system thoroughly to clear the cloudy water and before testing which is time-consuming and requires certain parameters to conduct the tests,” said White.

Even though these are valid reasons for the water to not be fixed yet, students are still frustrated and concerned.

“Please fix the water,” said Dhagane. “Make it your top priority instead of games and other things,” said Dhagane.

White said the district was working on the issue in order to get it fixed as soon as possible.

“We are near the end and the District hopes to have the water turned back on for Everett very soon, but safety comes first and we appreciate the patience it has taken to get this resolved,” said White.

Throughout the situation, the district provided alternatives for students who don’t have water bottles until the issues are resolved.

“The water that has been provided in the water coolers are from a reputable company that provides clean drinking water,” said White. “We also have provided cups for those water coolers for those that don’t have a water bottle.”

However, many students still don’t feel comfortable drinking the water provided.

“It [the water situation] currently [hinders] me from getting water because I don’t have a water bottle and the paper cups aren’t doing too well,” said Dhagane.

The most common question that people in the Everett community have, though, has yet to be answered.

“We are still not 100% sure what the cause of the initial find of cloudy water was,” said White. “We had been doing Bond construction work inside and had been turning water lines on and off due to that work,” 

White said that construction is likely what caused the lines to kick out sediments that had been settled in the lines causing the water to turn cloudy when it was turned back on.

Many Everett parents are especially concerned and frustrated with the situation.

I’m extremely frustrated with the district as a whole,” said Everett parent John Pehlivanoglu.

Pehlivanoglu called the administration building downtown on February 11 to get more information on the situation.

“I was told that the district is still waiting for estimates on replacing the faucets,” said Pehlivanoglu. “So here we are, literally months after the initial problem occurred, and not only are these faucets not replaced, they haven’t gotten estimates on replacing them.” 

Although the district has said the water is now fixed, many students still won’t drink it.

“I wouldn’t drink the water because they haven’t shown any evidence that the water has been tested,” said freshman Karoline Rivet.

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