Is lead a concern in my children’s school, private school, and child care centre?
Drinking water supplied by the City of Ottawa is lead-free. However, lead can dissolve into drinking water during its contact with lead pipes, brass fixtures, and lead solder if these were present within a school.
All schools, private schools and child care centres in Ontario are required to flush plumbing on a regularly prescribed schedule, test water for lead annually, and take immediate action if levels exceed the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 10 parts per billion. As of July 2017, every drinking water fountain and any tap that provides drinking water or is used to prepare food or drink for children under 18 must be sampled for lead. Water samples are taken between May 1 – October 31 each year and sent to a laboratory licensed by the Ministry of Environment, Conservations and Parks.
Ottawa Public Health ensures that schools, private schools and child care centres resolve lead-related drinking water issues and therefore comply with Ontario Drinking Water Standards.
The City of Ottawa’s drinking water treatment process includes a corrosion control step that protects our watermain infrastructure and greatly reduces the amount of lead that can leach from household plumbing and tap fixtures. In anticipation of Ontario adopting the Health Canada limit of 5 parts per billion , further enhancements to Ottawa’s water treatment process are underway to decrease lead levels even further.