Recently, we had a parent contact us, inquiring about the quality of drinking water at our school. The Richmond School District has been working with Vancouver Coastal Health for over two years to address water quality in our schools. The Richmond School District places a high priority on student safety and continues to work to this end. The biggest-takeaway from all of the information that will be shared below is that the drinking water at our school is safe for your children to drink.
1. All water in Richmond starts out in the same place - the water that is supplied to all of our houses and facilities travels through the same pipes.
2. The issue for schools and residents in Richmond is when water sits in pipes / does not flow in older buildings. When the water is not flowing, lead seeps into the water sitting in the pipes and lead levels increase. Some Richmond schools have acceptable amounts of lead in the water, some do not. Most older schools do not, and Tomsett is one of those schools that has been identified as having higher levels of lead in our water.
3. In new construction, lead solder is no longer used to connect pipes. So if you live in a newly built home, your water will be safe.
4. For all of our schools that were identified as having high lead values in the drinking water, the School District undertook a variety of measures to ensure that drinking water was safe. These included: removal of older drinking fountains, replacement of older supply lines, and installation of new fountains / bottle filling stations.
5. In addition to items listed in number 4, all faucets were labeled with signs to inform users to "not drink the water" (classroom sink faucets), or "allow water to run for 5 minutes prior to drinking".
6. In addition to numbers 4 and 5, the School District has hired a maintenance person to visit sites having water concerns on a regular basis to run water through faucets / fountains. Records are kept and maintained and are submitted to Vancouver Coastal Health on a regular basis. Periodic testing is also conducted by our Maintenance Department to ensure lead levels are acceptable.
7. As a parent, if you are still worried about lead in our water, we suggest that your child brings a water bottle from home filled with water from home.
We hope that you find this information helpful. Please let us know if you have further concerns.