Lead Level Results in for SD57
Prince George, B.C.- School District 57 has received the consultant’s report on lead levels in water lines at SD57 facilities, and seven facilities have levels over acceptable limits.
Those schools are:
- Edgewood Elementary
- Foothills Elementary
- Heritage Elementary
- Kool Kats Daycare
- Nukko Lake Elementary
- Nusdeh Yoh Elementary
- Pineview Elementary
The consultant was tasked with testing water in all active and closed schools, as well as the Central Administration Office.
Testing took place from May 18th to June 9th of this year.
The consultant’s report indicated daily flushing of the water systems at these facilities would address the higher than acceptable lead concentrations. SD57 Superintendent Sharon Cairns says flushing the lines for 7 minutes daily is the first step, but further testing will need to be done. “It’s a puzzle” says Superintendent Sharon Cairns “Lead is leached into the water if it stands for a period of time, so we don’t know it that’s the issue or if it’s a different issue.”
Retesting will be done following the flushing. If that doesn’t solve the issue, then the plan will be to isolate the origin of the problem “We actually have schools that have become positive ( for lead) from one place in the school but the drinking fountain is not positive so there are differences within the school, so we have to locate where the problem is first.” Not all of the water sources in every facility were tested.
Schools built prior to 1989 may have had higher concentrations of lead in the solder than those built post ’89 says Cairns “But then there are schools like Nukko Lake, where we have been testing water all along, and it never tested positive for lead. It was built after ’89 and yet it tested positive this time, so it’s a bit confusing.”
Cairns says another puzzle is why a building adjacent to the Gladstone school ( where Kool Kats Daycare is located) would test positive, while Gladstone did not.
She says its too early to say how big the problem may be, and what kind of repairs may need to be made or the costs involved.
The school district will follow the Guidelines developed by the Northern Health Authority (NHA) for daily water flushing and work with the NHA Environmental Health Officer to ensure safe drinking water in all facilities.
Our local school board also intends to test our schools for Radon. This is a good thing!
However, from what I understand, they will do the testing in the Fall/Winter when school is in session. We have been advised that we should test our homes in the winter because they are more sealed up in the winter and radon levels will then accumulate to a higher reading. I would think that our schools should be tested during the summer, when the building are locked up.
I would think that radon levels would be higher in the summer with the schools locked up than levels would be during the school year, what with doors being opened many, many, many times a day with students and staff entering or leaving the buildings.
Actually, the schools are not “locked up” in summer. This is when most major and minor construction, painting, new flooring, and all kinds of other things are done that would be major disruptions while classes are in session. Also, administrative planning is done. People are coming and going all day. Too, the doors are often propped open to let a breeze blow through the building because of the hot summer days (schools buildings as a whole are not air conditioned). So Radon testing in fall/winter is not such a bad idea. If we care what Radon levels students are exposed to, it makes sense to test at the time when they are there. The people who do the testing are familiar with the important issues that affect the test results, and are not, in fact, stupid.
So has the school district never tested for radon before? Amazing.
Yesterday on CKPG.. the school board said there were no lead in the water of any of the schools here.. I’m sure thats what I heard.. sooo if there is lead… shouldn’t the City be concerned that other residences in area are drinking same water too???
Lead issues arise from older style solder( I believe it was around 1985 that “lead-free” solder became widely available). Residential plumbing (small diameter ridgid copper pipes) use solder to connect the joints (at every elbow, valve and coupling). The municipal side of water distribution usually used ductile copper (flexible pipe which can be bent to avoid using elbow joints) and if there is any joint or valve in the ductile pipe, it is normally connected by the use of a “swedge” style compression fitting.
What the health organizations need to educate people about is that EVERY kind of water pipe is liable to “leach” something into your drinking water (usually in miniscule amounts). Copper piping systems may get some lead from old style solder. There can also be miniscule particles of copper itself too. Plastic water pipe (of any kind) can leach any number of trace materials.
When water is left standing still in a pipe for any amount of time, you may end up with something in your water. The best way to ensure that the water going into your glass is as safe as can be would be to run the tap for a bit first before filling your cup. If you are using a tap that is being used on a regular basis, it is not much to get concerned over. If you are taking a drink from a water line which has not been used for many hours or more, then let it run for 30 seconds or so to ensure the freshest water possible.
BTW.. we all drank water from garden hoses as kids (this is probably worse than the lead) Almost every building prior to approx 1985 used lead style solder. Dont let the “lead issue” get you too concerned. This is nothing new, and we have all been exposed for generations.
Just curious, why do you say that drinking from the garden hose was bad?
“Cairns says another puzzle is why a building adjacent to the Gladstone school ( where Kool Kats Daycare is located) would test positive, while Gladstone did not.”
Because the pipes underground are not soldered together. It is the pipes within the building itself that is the issue.
Everyone who went to school before 1989 has been “poisoned” by leached lead from solder joints so you all better head to the doctor. If your house was built before 1989 you are being “poisoned” by your pipes so you better move to a newer house.
On a more serious note it is more than likely less of an issue now as most kids no longer drink from water fountains at school, water flowing into toilets and sinks is a non-issue in this regard. They are probably “poisoned” more at home drinking a glass of water from the tap of their rental home/apartment.
Perhaps the lead allows people to live longer. Seems to me those people who’s houses were built prior to 1989 are alive and well.
I would be more concerned about drinking water from a plastic bottle, eating chocolate bars made in foreign countries, eating fast foods, and drinking large amounts of beverages, or alcohol.
People are living a lot longer to-day than they did years ago, so all this hype seems to be counter productive.
If your 85 and concerned about lead in your water, I suggest you should probably be more concerned about lead in your pencil.
It has been driven into our children’s generation to conserve every drop of water, and keep it contained in the pipes as long as possible. Damn you David Suzuki, you’re killing our children!LOL.
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