Manitoba to cover cost of testing for lead in taps at schools, childcare centres
79 per cent of facilities tested are below lead standards
June 8, 2023 By Government of Manitoba
Manitoba – The Manitoba government has set up a $1.6-million grant program to fully fund the cost of testing drinking water taps in schools and childcare centres for lead and for related mitigation activities, which can include filtering the water or eliminating the source of the lead.
“The Manitoba government takes concerns about lead in drinking water very seriously, especially in our schools and childcare centres, and we are taking a proactive, whole-of-government approach to addressing this potential risk to children’s health,” Environment and Climate Minister Kevin Klein said. “Safeguarding our children against lead in drinking water is an ongoing effort, but we want to acknowledge the tremendous progress schools have made to address Health Canada’s new lead standard.”
Results to date show that more than 80 per cent of public schools in the province have tested drinking water for lead. Of the schools that have tested, 79 per cent have tested below the lead standard or have completed mitigation efforts where results were elevated. Work is already underway to complete mitigation in many other facilities, the minister added.
All schools with results above the guideline have been provided with guidance on steps to protect students while work is being completed, and efforts are underway to ensure remaining schools are tested by the end of summer. The same support program has been initiated for independent schools and childcare centres, with testing and remediation well underway.
Additionally, the Manitoba government is launching a lead in drinking water compliance recognition campaign, which identifies facilities that have been tested and demonstrate compliance with the national guideline for lead in drinking water. Schools and childcare centres that meet the national guideline for lead in drinking water will be recognized with a “certified lead tested” sticker. The sticker demonstrates a school or childcare centre’s commitment to safety and assures parents that steps have been taken to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water, the minister noted.
The provincially funded grant program is being offered in partnership with the Manitoba Environmental Industries Association (MEIA), which administers the grant and supports schools and child-care centres. MEIA and the Manitoba government are working closely with childcare centres and schools to co-ordinate testing and follow up on mitigation, the minister noted.
“MEIA is proud to partner with the Manitoba government on this important initiative in schools and child-care centres,” Jack Winram, executive director, MEIA, said. “Many in our organization have children in school or that attend a childcare centre and we are pleased to play a role in protecting our children from lead in drinking water, as we administer this grant.”
For further information about the testing and mitigation status of all Manitoba public schools is available at: www.gov.mb.ca/sd/water/drinking-water/lead.
For additional information on lead exposure, visit https://www.gov.mb.ca/health/publichealth/environmentalhealth/lead/index.html.
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