School district officials say it’s unlikely there will be any lasting harm after elevated levels of lead found in tap water at four public schools in Prince Rupert.
The problem has been traced to lead pipes at Conrad Elementary, Pineridge Elementary, Ecole Roosevelt Park Community School and Prince Rupert Middle School.
The district is installing water fountains with special filters and says the pipes will be flushed daily before school, because lead levels climb when water stands in the pipes overnight.
Dr. Raina Fumerton is the northwest medical health officer for Northern Health.
She says testing was instigated on her behalf because she recently took over the position.
Because there are no provincial regulations on testing regimes, Dr. Fumerton says testing at schools was an easy way to gather data as a proxy for the community.
She says they found a range of levels from safe to several times Health Canada maximum amount of 10 micrograms per litre at the schools.
But she’s quick to add that while there is no “safe” level of lead, the children at the schools have had minimal exposure, saying children spend a lot more time drinking water from their homes than from school.
While there are many variables, she suggests people who are concerned about lead in their water should flush their water pipes if the water hasn’t been used for approximately eight hours.
She says turn on the taps until the water turns significantly cold, or flushing the toilet or taking a shower will flush the pipes of sitting water.