Nfld. & Labrador

MUN St. John's campus remains closed, water testing still underway

Memorial University's St. John's campus remains closed Friday afternoon after lead was discovered in the drinking water.

Memorial University securing alternate source of water for essential staff, residence

Memorial University remains closed in St. John's Friday afternoon after high levels of lead were discovered int he campus drinking water. (CBC)

Officials say testing is still underway at Memorial University's St. John's campus Friday afternoon after lead was discovered in the drinking water.

Students and staff were informed the campus would remain closed Friday after high levels of lead was discovered at the music school and engineering building.

In an update Friday afternoon, the university said lead was also found in water from the education building, but levels were below the 10 micrograms/litre limit defined under the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.

Memorial first found out about the lead in the water on Wednesday.

"We have acted with an overabundance of caution in closing all of the buildings," read a statement from Memorial University.

Kent Decker, vice-president with finance and administration, said the university still does not know where the lead is coming from.

"This has come as quite a surprise to us," said Decker.

However, Dr. David Allison, medical officer of health for Eastern Health, said the lead is likely coming from the pipes, adding it's probably building specific.

Samples of the water have been sent to a lab in Halifax and results are expected back over the weekend. In the meantime, bottled water has been provided to people living in residence and essential university staff.

Water at the campus is tested randomly or when requested by staff. In this case, it was a random test.

No confirmed reopening date has been issued, but Decker said he suspects the St. John's campus will open again Monday.

The university last tested for lead levels a few years ago.

The Field House was also closed down, in addition to the St. John's campus, but residences remained open.

The Aquarena was not affected because it uses a different water supply.

With files from Ariana Kelland

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