B.C. began requiring some schools and daycares to test for lead in their drinking water a mere two years ago, with schools required to test only once, every three years. Under the new standard for lead levels, more than 40% of the B.C. schools tested don’t make the grade. Unsafe levels of lead were reported in drinking water in 1 of every 4 of the B.C. schools in 2018, including eight schools with levels more than 100 times higher than the allowable limit.
Currently, not all schools are required to test for lead, only those built before 1990. However, some schools built after 1990 tested their water and failed to meet the standard. Clearly, all schools need to test for lead in drinking water.
The Provincial Government is giving grants to replace lead pipes contaminating school water supplies, as well as supporting school districts to install water filtration devices on every source of drinking water. Many schools waiting for an upgrade are using “the flushing method”, a method of running water for a few minutes to lower lead levels. This is an ineffective solution to this problem. We need to act immediately to protect the health of our students and staff.
At OneCity, we see this as an urgent problem requiring immediate action.
OneCity Will Work for Lead-Free Drinking Water in All Schools by:
- Undertake immediate testing of lead levels in water at all schools.
- Require that each and every student in Vancouver have access to safe drinking water.
- Install filtration devices at every school with unsafe lead levels.
- Require that all schools be required to test every source of drinking water, at least once a year.
Carrie Bercic, OneCity's School Trustee, is the only Trustee who has brought the issue forward for a public vote at the School Board. You can add your name to OneCity's Lead Free Drinking Water Petition to help Carrie and OneCity School Board candidates protect Vancouver students.