November 13, 2019
Testing for lead in school water sources
Recently, some news outlets have reported about lead levels found in drinking water in Ontario schools. It is important that we clarify that the Peel District School Board's test results shared in these articles are from the 2016-17 and 2017-18 school years, and have already been resolved. All of our elementary and secondary schools are currently in compliance with requirements of Ontario's Safe Drinking Water Act.
The health and safety of our school communities is always a top priority, which is why we are thorough and diligent in our testing of lead in water sources. Each year, from May to October, we conduct tests in Peel schools to ensure that water for drinking and cooking is safe for students, staff and visitors. If flushed lead levels exceed provincial standards of 10 parts per billion (ppb), the fountain or tap is taken out of service immediately, and corrective actions are taken to resolve the issue. Please know that we will never return a fixture to service until its lead levels meet provincial requirements.
Schools with lead levels above the provincial standard will inform families by sending home a letter or broadcast message. If you did not receive a notice this year, your school's lead levels did not exceed provincial requirements. You can review your school's lead test results by visiting your school office.
We take a proactive approach to testing and will always follow all provincial reporting requirements and corrective actions to ensure safe water in schools. We're proud to share the Peel board has already completed mandatory testing at all elementary schools, and completed the majority of testing at all secondary schools—two years in advance of the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks deadline in Ontario Regulation 243/07. As we are ahead of schedule for mandatory lead testing, it may seem that we have more lead exceedences than other school boards. However, in most cases, we have completed more tests and have more facilities than other boards. As percentages, for the 2017-18 school year, our lead test scores were on par or better than the provincial average.
We continue to be committed to providing safe, healthy learning environments for all students, staff and visitors. As always, if you have any concerns about your child's safety at school, please contact your principal directly.
For FAQs and more information about our testing procedures, visit our Water Testing in Peel Schools webpage.