The Commission scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) has confirmed that lead was found in the tap water of an elementary school in Montreal’s Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighbourhood.
The province’s largest school board issued a letter to parents Thursday saying eight sources of water at École Marc-Favreau did not meet the new standards laid out by the province. Five other sources were also cut off as a preventive measure.
As a result, the CSDM says it is distributing bottled water to students Friday and that it is working closely with regional health authorities.
“Rigorous tests will be carried out and solutions will be put in place,” the school board said. “Parents and school staff have been advised of these procedures, which will be undertaken over the next few days.”
École Marc-Favreau will get its water from reusable containers next week, according to the CSDM. Students have also been asked to bring reusable water bottles.
“All measures have been taken to ensure that interventions are carried out safely,” said the school board.
The school board said it is testing the tap water for lead contamination in all of its schools across the city — which includes 191 institutions.
A year-long investigation by Global News, Le Devoir and Concordia’s Institute for Investigative Journalism revealed in October that testing methods used to measure lead levels in Quebec can be misleading and do not accurately measure how much lead is in the water people drink.
Quebec has since announced it will modify its lead testing rules. It will now sample from the first drop and after 30 minutes of stagnation instead of flushing water for five minutes before measuring lead levels.
The province also sent out letters to school boards across the province saying it hopes they will carry out their own tests of their drinking water in the coming months.
The province also announced earlier this month it will pay daycare operators across the province to test tap water. Global News first reported in July that a provincial research institute had warned of high levels of lead in a number of schools and daycares across the province.
— With files from Global News’ Dan Spector and Mike De Souza