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School’s Back – Remember To Flush Taps And Fountains

Water New Zealand is reminding schools to flush taps and fountains at the start of the new school year.

Chief executive Gillian Blythe says children are particularly at risk of exposure to lead and other toxic compounds if water has been sitting in pipes for extended periods.

She says there is currently no known safe level of exposure to lead, so it is important to reduce any exposure as much as possible.

“The World Health Organization has warned that lead exposure affects the development of the brain and nervous system in children and can increase the risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage in adults.

“All taps and drinking fountains should be flushed for at least 30 seconds at the start of every day but this is even more important after a long break.

“We recommend that if taps haven’t been used for several weeks, you run water for longer.”

She says a good rule of thumb is to flush for one second for every metre of pipe to the connection point of the water main.

“A good way of doing this is by walking the distance from your school to the road entrance to estimate the distance. For instance, if the tap farthest from the road is about 40 metres away from the entrance, then you should flush water through your tap or fountain for 40 seconds.”

To help schools remember to flush taps, Water New Zealand has produced a poster for classrooms. This is free to download from the Water New Zealand website

“We also need to think about metal and other toxic contaminants in our pipes at home. It’s recommended that in most parts of the country, we all flush about two cups of water each morning before filling the kettle or pouring a glass of water.”

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