Wednesday, January 22, 2020

SD52 students to use bottled water while Board of Education considers solutions to water issues

If you've been following the blog over the last few days, we've been providing a few notes on the latest water woes for Prince Rupert that have recently been disclosed.

This time once again putting the focus on the city's school system, which now is adding concerns over copper, to the previous issues related to lead in the waterlines of District facilities.

Lead concerns at SD52 schools rekindles attention to ongoing issue: A look back at some of the focus of the past

Lead in Water concerns, plans for a seismic upgrade and School Calendar options among SD52 Board notes for January

The Copper concerns were added to the list last year as things turn out, that after Health Canada revised its guidelines in March of 2019.

The School District subsequently discovered through its testing of October, that it no longer met the new standards in place when it comes to both lead and copper.

When it comes to a full and complete review of the issue from the School District the flow of information has been somewhat sparse; the original indication of the new found issue of copper in the waterlines getting a short mention at the tail end of the review of the January 14th Board of Education meeting.

Beyond that brief comment in passing from the Board meeting, the School District website has just a short notice, one with few details for students, parents, guardians or staff members to review.

Charles Hays Secondary School students and
their parents received a short note  on the
water issues through the CHSS website

Yesterday speaking to CBC Radio's Carolina de Ryk, SD52 Board Chair David Horne touched on a few things related to the most recent water alerts for the District schools.

The Board chair recounted the water testing process that the Board uses and how the state of the water has not changed any, but that the limits for both lead and copper have been revised.

He also observed that the District had installed new drinking fountains with a filtration process in recent years, as well as to regularly flush their lines, noting however that those efforts now no longer meet the revised standards, leading to the move towards bottled water of this month.

When it came for answers as to what needs to be done for the future when it comes to the water infrastructure situation and how it may be resolved; Mr. Horne observed how it will be an expensive issue to address and will make for further discussion at the Board level.

Today it was an opportunity for Northern Health's Dr. Raina Fumerton to relay the standard reply of late when it comes to water issues for Prince Rupert.

In this case outlining some of the health issues that could be found from the original source of the water, indicating that the School District has done the right thing by issuing the advisory and switching to bottled water.

Those comments from each organization making for the bulk of the information delivery to date, that while both seek to determine the path forward for the schools.

When it comes to finding any details from either group on the situation through their regular information sources however, the task is a daunting and frustrating one to take on.

For the most part the School District website is lacking in anything other than cursory information on the topic of the state of the water in the schools; while it is even harder to find any mention of the issue through the Northern Health website or Facebook page.

Considering how both the School District and Northern Health are in the business of educating the public, so far the lesson plans seem to be lacking much in the way of constructive guidance as to what the situation currently is. 

As well as to provide for any extensive background on how they may plan to fix it.

For more notes on the water issues of SD52 and other items of interest see our archive page here.

To return to the most recent blog posting of the day, click here.

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