Click here to read the full article or an excerpt below. Do schools have to pay for water consumption or are they exempt? BC schools should be exempt from paying for MSP but they are not.
The Delta School District confirmed it’s in the process of testing water quality at 31 of its schools, and lead above the maximum allowable limit has already been detected at 19 of them.
Those include elementary schools, secondary schools, and the Delta Manor Education Centre for adult and language classes.
On Friday, the district issued a statement assuring there are no lead pipes at any Delta schools, suggesting the source of the problem is likely external pipe soldering that was done decades ago.
“Buildings built prior to 1989 have copper piping, and standard practice was to externally solder pipes with a compound that may have included lead,” it said.
The use of lead components was restricted under the B.C. Plumbing Code in 1989.
Delta said water quality testing was ordered across the province by the Ministry of Education in February, which is around the time years-old concerns about potential lead poisoning risks at schools in northwestern British Columbia came to light.
A report from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control revealed water tests were ordered at a school in Kitimat after a science class discovered salmon eggs kept dying in its aquarium back in 2012. Even low-level lead exposure is associated with neurodevelopmental effects, the report warned.
B.C. NDP education critic Rob Fleming said he worries there will be more troubling test results elsewhere going forward.
“Everywhere that testing is done we’re finding that there’s elevated levels of lead in the pipes,” Fleming said. “We’re finding out it’s a bigger problem than we know.”
It’s unclear how long the lead has been present in the schools, but the NDP said it could have been detected sooner if not for belt-tightening imposed by the Ministry of Education.
“Budgets have been balanced in school districts by cutting maintenance staff and maintenance routines, and now we’ve got kids exposed to levels that are over the safe guidelines,” Fleming said.
Anyone concerned about the drinking water at their child’s school can contact their local school district for information.