Water Reports

Limestone Learning Foundation

Schools in the Limestone District School Board have been regularly testing and flushing drinking water for the presence of lead since 2007. Flushing has been shown to reduce lead levels in drinking water fixtures. By flushing plumbing and fixtures, water that may have come in contact with lead is replaced with fresh water. In Limestone, routine flushing is completed weekly as a matter of practice.

What’s new?
New government regulations that came into effect in October 2017 require lead testing for all fixtures used to provide drinking water and/or prepare food or drink. The new regulations have been introduced as studies show that lead levels in drinking water from plumbing can vary between fixtures. A fixture refers to drinking water fountains, water-filling stations and taps that are used to provide drinking water and/or prepare food or drink.

English version of a hand wash sign.Why is lead harmful?
Lead testing is a requirement in schools because young children are more vulnerable to the effects of lead because they can absorb ingested lead more easily than adults, which can sometimes interfere with the development of the nervous system.

How does lead get into drinking water?
Ontario’s surface and groundwater generally does not contain lead. If lead does occur naturally, the concentrations are typically extremely low and below the drinking water standard for lead. The Ontario drinking water quality standard for lead is 10 micrograms per litre, and is based on a national guideline set by Health Canada. Where there are concentrations of lead in drinking water above the standard, the likely cause is from the lead pipes servicing the premises, lead solder used in the plumbing or fixtures containing high percentages of lead.

What happens if lead is detected?
Should a school get a drinking water test result that is above the standard for lead, the local Medical Officer of Health will be notified, and will assign corrective actions which includes daily flushing of the water system. These processes are already in place, and have been since 2007. Schools will communicate with information with students (families) and staff.

How will we know if school water is safe?
As per the new regulation, all fixtures that provide provide drinking water and/or prepare food or drink such as drinking water fountains, water-filling stations and taps will be tested for lead. Signs will be placed at each fixture to indicate if a fixture is NOT safe for drinking and/or preparing food or drink. These signs will say handwashing only. Furthermore, students (families) and staff will be notified directly by the school.

The Limestone District School Board is situated on traditional territories of the Anishinaabe & Haudenosaunee.