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Water line flushing at north Okanagan schools after lead detected

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Water line flushing at north Okanagan schools after lead detected
Water line flushing at north Okanagan schools after lead detected – Sep 6, 2016

The Vernon School District is answering questions surrounding the safety of students and staff after testing found elevated levels of lead at some of its schools.

Initial test results show that the following schools are affected: Cherryville Elementary, BX Elementary, Mission Hill Elementary, Kalamalka Secondary and WL Seaton Secondary School.

In a newsletter, the district is advising students’ families that the levels are slightly above the maximum recommended guideline.

“It is important to note that these initial samples were taken early in the morning after water had sat stagnant in the pipes overnight,” according to the district’s newsletter.

“This means that the samples were taken at a time when readings would be highest, so they may not be representative of lead levels present in the water throughout the day.”

The water will be flushed regularly before any students have access to it to ensure the lead levels stay below the recommended maximum levels.

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“Samples were taken after water was run for two minutes to flush stagnant water out of pipes. All samples after two minutes of flushing had lead levels which measured below the guideline,” according to the newsletter.

All of the schools in the district were tested after elevated lead levels showed up in some Prince Rupert schools.

Elevated levels of lead were also found in a sample from Crossroads Learning Centre taken after the pipes were flushed for ten seconds. With longer flushing, those levels also dropped to within recommended guidelines.

The source of the lead in the six Vernon and area facilities is believed to be from building plumbing materials.

The district plans to retest the water after replacing fixtures that have lead components, if the levels remain above the acceptable limits, the district said it will consider replacing plumbing lines.

Below is the full newsletter that will be sent home to parents of students at the affected schools.

School District No. 22 Water Sampling Q & A

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