Comprehensive efforts provide safe drinking water in schools

Posted On Wednesday November 06, 2019

Thames Valley conducts a comprehensive maintenance program to ensure safe drinking water in all schools that includes daily and weekly flushing of school plumbing, annual sampling and lead testing by third-party consultants and mandatory reporting to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks.

Tests from school taps or water fountains found to exceed the provincial standard of 10 ppb for lead cannot be used until immediate corrective action is taken as prescribed by the local health unit and the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks. Such action may include replacing or removing taps or fountains and increased flushing of the school’s plumbing by custodial staff.

Many recent media reports do not distinguish between the two types of samples that are conducted annually: “standing water” and “flushed water”.  Standing water results are often higher, and don’t reflect the reduction in lead levels that results from flushing that takes place each day or week at TVDSB schools. The figures also may not reflect the impact of corrective actions taken by the Board to ensure safe drinking water.  

Water quality at schools is regulated under the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act; specifically, Regulation 169/03: Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standards, and Regulation 243/07: Schools, Private Schools and Child Care Centres.

The following link provides more information about water flushing and lead sampling:

Facilities Services, Thames Valley District School Board