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Water update

Water testing protocol ready for next steps

Campus and Community

By David Sorensen

Memorial University is committed to ensuring safe drinking water for the university community.

Following the results of random water testing on the St. John’s campus in late July 2015 that showed higher than acceptable levels of lead in the potable water supply, Memorial has conducted hundreds of water quality tests, implemented remediation measures such as a total flush of many buildings on campus, removed older fountains and installed filters on others.

As well, the University Health and Safety Committee constituted a sub-committee, the Drinking Water Committee. Chaired by faculty member Dr. George Jenner, with representation from the Office of the Chief Risk Officer and the vice-president (administration and finance), the sub-committee was tasked with developing a drinking water quality guide.

The committee has completed its work and the guide now awaits approval from Memorial’s Health and Safety Committee. That approval is expected at the committee’s September meeting. Once approved, the guide will be shared with the university community.

The guide was developed with the goal of ensuring drinking water on the St. John’s campus meets the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water set by Health Canada.

The latest water testing done on the St. John’s campus in the fall of 2015 indicates that the drinking water on the St. John’s campus meets national guidelines.

The new testing protocol includes a call for proposals for a vendor to do annual water testing on the campus starting this fall.

Meanwhile, Facilities Management has implemented an annual process of flushing all water mains on the St. John’s campus. The yearly cycle for clearing water mains is almost complete and will begin again in October. These actions were developed based on methods legislated in Ontario.

There are now 33 filtered drinking fountains and 56 filtered kitchen sinks across the campus. These taps and fountains all have signage indicating they are filtered.


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