St. Marys to test public drinking fountains for lead

·1 min read

By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

St. Marys Town Council approved a motion to test drinking fountains in public spaces for lead contamination at last Tuesday's Council meeting.

Through the motion, proposed by Councillor Jim Craigmile, Council has directed Town staff to create a program for 2021 to 2022 to conduct tests on lead levels in the drinking water. The fountains to be tested would be located in community-owned public spaces. The exact list of locations that would be subject to testing is not finalized, but some examples include public fountains, community centers, and municipal facilities. The program, including locations, sampling procedures, and costs, will be drafted by Town staff and sent back to Council at a later date for approval before the project begins.

"Council is the registered owner of the drinking water," Craigmile said in his reasoning for the motion, "I think 10 years is too long because there could be deterioration in piping." Craigmile added that he doesn't anticipate such a program being too costly and would provide important and recent data on what is coming out of the public fountains.

Lead contamination testing from drinking water spigots specifically doesn't currently fall under the scope of the Town's water services contract, according to Environmental Services Supervisor Dave Blake. Additionally, per Blake, the Town follows provincial drinking water testing requirements, which do include periodic lead tests from distribution outlets like fire hydrants. These results should closely resemble the water from municipal fountains, but tests of the fountains themselves would be the only way to confirm that. The motion to test the public drinking water fountains was approved unanimously by Council.

Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Marys Independent