False alarm on lead levels

Drinking fountains are spouting once again at Duke of Connaught.

Two recent tests show the school’s tap water is safe to drink, suggesting human error was behind an earlier test that registered a high level of lead.

For the two weeks before June 10, staff and students at the kindergarten to Grade 8 school had to drink bottled water as a precaution.

Anna Caputo, a communications officer for the Toronto District School Board, said tests done on May 28 and June 5 show the school’s water meets Ontario guidelines, which call for lead levels no higher than 0.010 milligrams per litre.

Caputo said staff take two water samples for every test – one after the water has been standing in the pipes for several hours, the other after the pipes are flushed.

“Normally, the standing results are much higher than the flushed results,” she said.

But strangely, Caputo said a test taken on May 27 showed the opposite, suggesting that the person who took the samples mixed them up by mistake.

“Even if it is human error, it’s flagged with the ministry, so we have to follow-up and do further testing,” she said.

Asked about the school’s plumbing system, Caputo said the pipes at Duke of Connaught are made of copper, not lead.


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