Getting the lead out

School officials in Kamloops are working on getting the lead out.

After studies found elevated levels of lead, schools in Kamloops/Thompson School District 73 will immediately begin to flush hallway fountains and classroom taps.

The lead was found at the beginning of the day, after the pipes had not been used overnight or the weekend.

Further evaluation showed simply running outlets for 30-60 seconds flushed lead from the system. 

“We are doing this out of an abundance of caution,” said Michelle Marginet, SD 73’s manager of health and safety. “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.”

The problem occurs when water comes into prolonged contact with lead pipe solder commonly used in buildings built before 1990.

Marginet said testing showed lead levels are elevated when the faucet is turned on for the first time each day.

Once the water is running, however, levels quickly drop below regulatory health standards.

The district has instructed staff about the new protocol. Custodians, teachers and principals will ensure school drinking water outlets are flushed for one minute at the start of every school day. A letter will be sent to parents explaining the issue.

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