Learn about water testing in Yukon schools

  • Testing Yukon schools
  • Results and testing procedures
  • Results for schools built before 1990
  • Results for schools built after 1990

  1. Testing Yukon schools

    The Government of Yukon has tested all water fixtures in Yukon schools for lead levels. Drinking water from these fixtures is not enough to significantly affect the health of students or staff. All schools continue to have safe drinking water for students and staff.

    The government put this initiative in place at the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

    What is lead?

    Lead is a heavy metal that occurs naturally in low levels in the environment. Everyone is exposed to trace amounts of lead through:

    • air;
    • soil;
    • household dust;
    • food;
    • drinking water; and
    • various consumer products.

    Why are schools tested for lead levels?

    Lead was used in plumbing materials (including drinking fountains and sink taps) before 1988. That year, national building standards changed to reduce the use of lead. As a result, some schools may still have water fixtures and plumbing materials that contain lead. Lead can leach into the water when it sits in the water system for longer periods.

    What do I need to know about lead in Yukon schools

    The Chief Medical Officer of Health says there is no short-term risk to health associated with water fixtures with levels above the national standards. National standards are based on exposure to lead over a lifetime.

    Children drink water from many sources. Drinking water from these fixtures would not be enough to significantly affect the health of students or staff.

    What the government is doing about lead levels in schools

    The Government of Yukon is taking steps to reduce the amount of lead that students in Yukon schools are exposed to. We’ll be repairing or replacing the affected water fixtures to bring lead levels as low as possible.

    Can I remove lead from my drinking water?

    If you’re concerned about lead levels in your drinking water, there are effective ways to remove it permanently. Check out the links below from Health Canada to learn more.

    You can reduce your exposure in the meantime. Health Canada recommends only using cold tap water for:

    • drinking;
    • cooking; and
    • preparing baby formula.


    Hot water increases the release of lead and other metals from plumbing.

    Let your tap run for about 1 minute to flush out your plumbing after water has been sitting in the pipes for a few hours. You can also clear the pipes by:

    • flushing the toilet;
    • taking a shower; and
    • starting a load of laundry.


    Learn more with Health Canada:

    What we do to reduce lead in drinking water

    When we know that a water fixture needs replacing we:

    • shut off the water to the water fountain;
    • install a sign to fixtures in bathrooms or classrooms, indicating they’re safe for washing but not drinking;
    • replace or repair the flagged fixture; and
    • retest the fixture when work is complete.

     


  2. Results and testing procedures

    How we tested for lead

    We tested the water to identify which water fixtures might be leaching lead. This is a pass or fail test. It does not represent the average concentration of lead in the drinking water. Lead levels drop when water is flushed. Fixtures that test above the 20 micrograms per litre (ug/L) level did not pass the test.

    The testing procedure was as follows:

    • We flushed water at every water fixture.
    • The water sat stagnant in the water system for 16 to 24 hours to allow for the largest amount of lead leaching.
    • We took a 250 millilitres standing sample from every water fixture.
    • We took a 2nd 250 millilitres flushed sample from some water fixtures following a 30-second flush.
    • We also took a main water sample from some schools.
    • We sent the water samples to Caro Analytical Services in Richmond, BC, for testing.
    • Caro Analytical Services sent the results back to the Department of Education for action.

    Measurement units

    We measure the results in micrograms per litre (ug/L). We follow Health Canada guidelines and replace any water fixtures that test above 20 ug/L.

    The “RL Units” seen next to the result is the reporting limit. This limit is set at 0.20 ug/L. Any results below this number are reported as “<0.20”. Measurements for lead are written as either:

    • microgram per litre (ug/L); or
    • milligrams per litre (mg/L).

    Fixture labels

    After testing, we label each water fixture. The labels you may see include:

    • BS or BF: bathroom sink or bathroom fixture
    • CS or CF: classroom sink or classroom fixture
    • CSF: classroom sink with fountain
    • KS or KF: kitchen sink or kitchen fixture
    • S: sink
    • DF: drinking fountain
    • HF: hall fountain

     


  3. Results for schools built before 1990

    The chart state the number of fixtures:

    • identified for replacement or repair; and
    • the mitigation work that has taken place.

    If a drinking water fountain or kitchen sink tap tested above the limit, we identify this beside the number of fixtures. Otherwise, fixtures include classroom and bathroom sink taps. Specific values obtained during testing are available for each school in the PDF document.

    We'll update the chart as work progresses. Read the reports to find out specific testing values.

     

    School

    Number of water fixtures we identified for replacement

    Upgrade work completed

    Results report

    Christ the King Elementary

    3

    3 fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Eliza Van Bibber, Pelly Crossing

    26 (including 2 drinking water fountains; 4 kitchen sinks)

    All fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results at the majority of the new fixtures; 3 classroom fixtures and 1 drinking fountain remain designated as non-drinking sources until further notice.

    Report 1

    Report 2 A 2nd round of testing was completed to get flushed samples.

    Report 3 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Golden Horn Elementary

    5

    Repairs at all fixtures now complete; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Report 3 Test results following extra repairs.

    Ghùch Tlâ Community, Carcross

    16 (including 4 kitchen sinks)

    All fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results at the majority of fixtures; 5-bathroom fixtures will remain designated as non-drinking sources until further notice.

    Report 1

    Report 2 A 2nd round of tests was done at this school to ensure testing validity.

    Report 3 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Grey Mountain Primary

    1 (including 1 drinking water fountain)

    Drinking fountain replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Jack Hulland Elementary

    13

    All mitigation work complete; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 A 2nd round of testing was completed to get flushed samples.

    Test results following the replacement of fixtures:

    Report 3

    Report 4

    Johnson Elementary, Watson Lake

    1

    Fixture replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Khàtìnas.àxh, Teslin

    6 (including 1 kitchen sink)

    Repairs of all fixtures now complete; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Report 3 Test results following extra repairs.

    Kluane Lake, Destruction Bay

    0

    None required.

    Report

    Nelnah Bessie John, Beaver Creek

    1 (including 1 drinking water fountain)

    Drinking fountain replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Porter Creek Secondary

    20

    All fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results at the majority of the new fixtures; 5 classroom sinks will remain designated as non-drinking sources until further notice.

    Report 1

    Report 2 A 2nd round of testing was completed to get flushed samples.

    Report 3 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Robert Service, Dawson City

    34 (including 1 drinking water fountain; 1 kitchen sink)

    Repairs at all fixtures now complete; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 A 2nd round of testing was completed to get flushed samples.

    Report 3 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Report 4 Test results following extrarepairs.

    Selkirk Elementary

    7

    7 fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    St. Elias Community, Haines Junction

    1

    1 fixture replaced; extra testing being scheduled.

    Report

    Takhini Elementary

    2

    2 fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Vanier Catholic Secondary

    16

    Repairs at all fixtures now complete; 2 bathroom fixtures will be permanently labelled as non-drinking sources.

    Report 1

    Report 2 A 2nd round of testing was completed to get flushed samples.

    Report 3 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Report 4 Test results following extra repairs.

    Whitehorse Elementary

    3

    3 fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

    Wood Street Centre

    7 (including 1 drinking fountain)

    7 fixtures replaced; extra tests show clean results.

    Report 1

    Report 2 Test results following the completion of mitigation work.

    Report 3 Test results following the replacement of fixtures.

     


  4. Results for schools built after 1990

    The chart state the number of fixtures:

    • identified for replacement or repair; and
    • the mitigation work that has taken place.

    If a drinking water fountain or kitchen sink tap tested above the limit, we identify this beside the number of fixtures. Otherwise, fixtures include classroom and bathroom sink taps. Specific values obtained during testing are available for each school in the PDF document.

    We'll update the chart as work progresses. Read the reports to find out specific testing values.

     

    School

    Number of water fixtures we identified for replacement

    Upgrade work completed

    Results report

    Del Van Gorder, Faro

    16

     

    Report

    Émilie Tremblay

    2

     

    Report

    Elijah Smith Elementary

    4 (including 4 drinking fountains)

     

    Report

    F.H. Collins Secondary

    0

    None required.

    Report

    Gadzoosdaa Student Residence

    0

    None required.

    Report

    Hidden Valley Elementary

    1 (including 1 drinking fountain)

     

    Report

    Holy Family Elementary

    1 (including 1 drinking fountain)

     

    Report

    J.V. Clark, Mayo

    42 (including 3 kitchen sinks; 4 drinking fountains)

     

    Report

    Ross River school, Ross River

    0

    None required.

    Report

    Tantalus, Carmacks

    0

    None required.

    Report

    Teen Parent Centre

    0

    None required.

    Report

    Watson Lake Secondary, Watson Lake

    46 (3 kitchen sinks)

     

    Report