New plumbing and piping is on the way to replace lead soldered pipes in the Children’s Development Centre and École Sundance elementary schools.
The two facilities, the CDC in Cordova Bay and École Sundance on Bank Street in Victoria, are included on the list of six schools the province has committed $750,000 towards upgrading. The CDC is a Saanich SD63 school, once known as Elk Lake elementary, which provides additional social and emotional development support to elementary and middle school students in the area. École Sundance was closed by SD61 in 2014 and is on a five-year lease to the CSF francophone school board 93.
Any school built previous to 1990 is a candidate to have led in the water as the building code permitted led soldering in the copper pipes.
The Children’s Development Centre had been previously flagged for lead in the water, albeit at a low rate, said SD63 secretary treasurer Jason Reid.
“It will get new piping and plumbing,” Reid said. “The school had a filtration system and manual flushing, it’s not in any imminent danger.”
The money will pay for up to $95,000 for the CDC piping refit, which should cover it.
École Sundance is doing the same, with about $55,000 worth of construction to replace pipes that bring in the drinking water. Students there have been drinking from bottles since last year. Construction will start after the Christmas break to be completed by March 2018.
The $750,000 for local products is in addition to $6.5 million invested in school districts since last year to reduce lead levels in water. These six new projects have been accelerated and are scheduled to be complete by March 31, 2018, the Ministry of Education said on Monday.
In addition to the CDC and École Sundance, the province will refit École des Sept-sommets in Rossland, Lake City Secondary school (Columneetza Campus) in Williams Lake, Mountview Elementary school in Williams Lake and the Naghtaneqed Elementary/Junior Secondary school in Nemiah Valley.
Generally the danger comes from lead leaching the standing water over night, and over the weekend, and it’s an issue that impacts all school districts in B.C. Manual flushing has reduced most of the impact while the province moves to replace those pipes with lead soldering.
In SD63, the province funded a Sidney elementary refit last year. CDC was next on the priority list, Reid said.
“The last time we tested CDC it was less than a microgram per litre, and in Canada it’s the anything 10 micrograms per litre, or less, is the standard for drinking. What this does is it solves the problem of us having to filter our water.”