Lead in water concerns Victoria school district

District 61 plans to flush the water pipes in problem schools three times a day for the rest of this school year and install new water fountains with better filtration.

Plan is for more tests and to flush water pipes and install new fountains for next year

School District 61 says Margaret Jenkins Elementary in Victoria has unacceptable lead contyent in drinking fountains before and after flushing the pipes. It also has water "intake concerns." (Google Streetview)

Some Greater Victoria schools will be getting new filtered water fountains because of concerns about lead in the water.

Informal tests conducted by district staff earlier this spring in District 61 schools showed elevated levels of lead, before flushing pipes in some cases and after flushing in others.

"Those tests came back with a few concerns," Mark Walsh, secretary treasurer for School District 61, told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

"The numbers are not way out of whack in the vast majority [of cases], even where the concerns sit, so that's heartening. But, of course, anything over acceptable levels is not acceptable."

In a press release, District 61 called the tests "very preliminary," and said further tests would be done by a third party.

Walsh says for the last few school days of the year, problem fountains will be flushed three times a day as opposed to the usual once a day.

However, he says this will not be a long-term solution, and district staff are recommending the board spend some of the money returned to the district by the provincial government on new water fountains.

The cost for a new fountain with modern filtration can be approximately $3,000 per unit.

Read the list of Greater Victoria schools with water concerns 

With files from CBC Radio One's All Points West

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Lead in water flagged as concern at 23 Greater Victoria schools