Water - lead testing failure letter

posted Oct 13, 2017, 6:47 AM by Kathleen Power

Dear Parent/Guardian,

Over the course of this summer, all 1,173 of our designated water fixtures (89 schools)

were sampled and tested and only 27 (2.3%) exceeded the Provincial Standards. Some

fixtures at our school failed the test. These fixtures have been taken out of use until the

failure is rectified.

Since 2007, the Ontario government has been requiring child care centres and schools

to flush the plumbing in their facilities and test drinking water for lead. New amendments

to Ontario regulation 243/07 took effect July 1, 2017 that require lead testing within

these facilities for all designated fixtures used to provide drinking water and/or prepare

food or drink for children under 18.

The Ontario drinking water quality standard for lead is 10 micrograms per litre. This

standard is based on a national guideline set by Health Canada. School Boards and Child Care Centres have three years in which to phase in the new sampling and testing procedures.

At OCSB we elected to complete sampling and testing of designated fixtures across the entire district this summer. In consultation with the School Principal, the Planning and Facilities Department is responsible for sampling, testing and implementing remedial action if and where required. Any water fixture that is available to persons under the age 18 that is not designated for drinking, or the making of food or drink will be posted with a sign illustrating that it is not to be used for those purposes. Principals, teachers, support staff and Child Care Supervisors and staff are aware of these protocols and are

expected to communicate them to students.

If a child care centre or school gets a drinking water test result that is above the Provincial Standards for lead, the local Medical Officer of Health will issue a water advisory notice and consult with Planning and Facilities on corrective actions to be taken. When the Planning and Facilities receives an advisory the fixture in question is no longer accessible to students. After corrective action (flushing, removal/replacement of the fixture) and additional sampling and testing shows that the fixture is within Provincial Standards the local Medical Officer of Health lifts the advisory and the fixture is made available. These local processes have been in place since 2007 and are working well.

This year, when regular classes were not in session we were advised that there was a lead exceedance at our school and a water advisory was issued for one or more designated drinking fixtures. Please note that the advisory is limited to the particular fixture(s) and not to the entire school’s water supply. Corrective action such as additional flushing followed by the resampling did not pass. We are now proceeding to change the fixture and are confident that subsequent testing will have satisfactory results and when Ottawa Public Health rescind the Drinking Water Advisory the fixture will be made available for use. These results will soon be available to the public at our school.

Please contact the school if you have any questions regarding this letter. Thank you for your understanding.


Carrie Bowie

Principal, St. Patrick’s High School

cc: Holly Parker

cc: Cindy Owens, Superintendent of Schools