Kamloops schools taking measures to prevent high lead levels in water | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops schools taking measures to prevent high lead levels in water

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June 13, 2017 - 12:22 PM

KAMLOOPS - All schools in the Kamloops-Thompson school district will immediately begin flushing hallway fountains and classroom taps to make sure drinking water doesn't contain elevated lead levels.

School District 73 says in a media release that these measures are being taken following the discovery of some local schools having slightly elevated lead levels in their drinking water when the faucet or tap was first turned on.

All schools have had their water tested. The School District says in instances when a water fountain or tap tested higher than acceptable for lead, it was found that running the water for 30 seconds to one minute flushed lead from the system.

This prompted the creation of a flushing protocol and the District's manager of health and safety, Michelle Marginet, says this is a precautionary measure.

"We are doing this out of an abundance of caution," Marginet says in the media release. "This is an important health and safety initiative for students and staff alike. We want to do all we can to ensure that water in our schools is safe for people to drink."

According to the District, the problem of high lead levels can occur when water sits in pipes overnight or through a weekend, especially in buildings constructed before 1990.

Marginet says after the water is flushed as per the new protocol, levels can quickly drop and test safe for the rest of the day.

The District decided to implement the new protocol to all schools built before 1990, even where no problems have been recorded.

"We really are trying to be proactive," Marginet says. "We are being overly cautious because we want to ensure no one is exposed to lead, and this is the only way we can guarantee it."

The District says all staff have been instructed about the new requirements. Long term solutions including the possibility of replacing piping, are being considered. Annual testing will continue in schools.

Drinking water at four schools and a childcare facility in Kamloops tested above acceptable standards for lead in February.

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