Several reports of lead in drinking water in Ontario schools

drinking water
Posted on: November 12, 2019

As you may be aware, there have recently been several reports in the media on the presence of lead in the drinking water in Ontario schools. More specifically, several Upper Canada District School Board schools have been named as exceeding the Ontario threshold for lead in drinking water. We understand the importance of maintaining healthy environments for our students and staff and are writing to assure you that the drinking water in our schools is safe.

Since 2007, school boards have been required by Ontario Regulation 243/07 under the Education Act, to take specific steps to test the water in all schools and to take corrective action where test results show exceedances compared to Ontario standards for lead. In the Upper Canada District School Board, we fulfill our requirement to test water in all schools annually. In the event that water from a fixture like a drinking fountain is shown to exceed the Ontario standard, we immediately remove that fixture from use and only return it to use when the local medical officer of health is satisfied with the corrective steps we have taken. These corrective actions could include removal or replacement of the fixture, replacement of plumbing, or other measures. Be assured that when a water test at a fixture comes back above the acceptable limits, that fixture is not used by children or adults until the problem is fixed.

In addition, the UCDSB takes additional steps required under the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure safe drinking water even where test results show no problem. This includes weekly flushing of the water systems at all schools as a regular preventative measure and daily flushing at fixtures where required. Taken together, these measures ensure constant monitoring, quick identification of issues, rapid corrections where needed and additional preventative measures at all sites. We remain vigilant on the issue of water safety by continuing to follow the prescribed flushing, testing and correction process as we have for over a decade.

You are welcome to contact your school principal or area superintendent of schools if you have any further questions about the school’s operations.

Sincerely,
Stephen Sliwa
Director of Education

Article submitted.