After high levels of lead were found in the drinking water of 48 per cent of locations in the Prince Rupert School District this past February, school districts around the province have been testing their own drinking water for contaminants to find out if they, too, needed to take steps to mitigate this possible health issue.
Deputy Minister of Education Dave Byng sent a letter to all school districts in the province after the Prince Rupert situation came to light in the media, saying, “At the request of the Provincial Health Officer, I am writing to remind all school districts of the importance of ensuring water quality within all schools complies with Water Management Best Practices and the Drinking Water Protection Act.”
Secretary-Treasurer of the Campbell River School District (SD72) Kevin Patrick revealed to the board of education at this week’s public meeting that testing has been completed across our district and all but two locations came back, “well within compliance and safety levels.”
The two that did not – the drinking fountain in the gymnasium at Pinecrest Elementary and the one at the SD72 offices – were immediately removed from service and locked from use, Patrick said.
“They were described as ‘low flow and low use,’” Patrick told the board. “Because they sit and don’t get used much, that’s why they had an elevated level.
“Basically, once either of these places were run for even a couple of seconds, it reduced the contaminants,” to below acceptable levels, but it was decided the best mitigation tactic was to simply remove the sources.
The Pinecrest fountain will be replaced with a new one while the one in the SD72 offices has been completely decommissioned and will not be replaced with another.
The district will be following up with additional testing to ensure all sources of drinking water remain below public health regulations’ acceptable limits.