Lead in water testing hits schools
EDUCATION Minister Sue Ellery says she is “angry” testing of lead levels at new public schools was not completed before the start of the school term on Wednesday.
Bottled water was delivered to five new schools opening in Perth after elevated levels of lead were found in the tap water.
Results from water testing at Doubleview Primary School and Southern Grove Primary School were received on Thursday and showed no elevated levels of lead.
However, the Education Department was awaiting results of tests at Aveley North and Rapids Landing primary schools yesterday, as well as Aveley Secondary College.
On Tuesday evening, the Education Department and minister’s office were unable to confirm to Community News whether results for testing lead at the new schools had been completed.
Ms Ellery said the testing had not been implemented by Education and Building Management and Works in time to generate results by the start of the school year.
“I am deeply, deeply disappointed that when my office checked last week that I was not advised there was even a possibility that we would not meet the deadline,” she said.
“I think given the announcement made in October last year, if there was any question that we could not get this information by the start of school today, I should have been advised by the Education Department.”
Department of Education director general Sharyn O’Neill said results received from water testing at six new public schools found no adverse samples in any drinking outlets.
“Initial tests conducted by the Department of Finance’s Building Management and Works found some taps in work areas, such as external hose taps and work sinks, showed slightly elevated levels of lead. Subsequent testing, however, showed no elevated levels in water from these taps,” Ms O’Neill said.
“Any taps with inconsistent results will be off-limits to students and staff while further testing is undertaken.
“While I am awaiting the results from the remaining schools, I have been reassured by health officials that short-term consumption of the drinking water poses no health risks.
“However, as a precautionary measure bottled water will be provided to those schools for drinking and hand washing until results are received and the appropriate response is developed.”