Memorial University Water Quality Update, Aug. 13

Memorial has received test results for all buildings on the main St. John’s campus. The majority of buildings have been cleared for regular water consumption, including the following five buildings that had water consumption restrictions lifted today:

• Arts and Administration
• Engineering and Applied Science
• University Centre
• Music
• Field House

Additional tests using a new testing protocol were done for any buildings that had initial test results above the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines in the entry point (mechanical rooms). The additional testing involves sampling at the first faucet where water might be consumed within a building. That testing included flushing the water, then letting it stagnate for 8-24 hours before taking samples. Samples were taken as soon as the faucet was turned on (stagnant water) as well as at a number of intervals from the same faucet. Taking a sample from stagnant water aligns with Memorial’s cautious approach to this issue and has allowed us to narrow the area for further investigation into the potential causes. Based on these first faucet test results, four buildings remain under consumption restrictions:

• Biotechnology
• Childcare Centre
• Computing Services
• QEII Library

The results from the Biotechnology building indicated higher than acceptable levels in the four samples taken from the first faucet. Testing at mid and far faucets indicated either no detectable lead or levels well below the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines. This likely indicates a localized issue and Facilities Management is investigating potential causes. This has led to remediation work and additional water testing.

In the Childcare Centre, the first sample taken from stagnant water at the first faucet indicated the presence of lead at a level slightly higher than the guidelines. The other samples taken from the same source show levels that are either below the guidelines or not detectable. Testing at the mid and far faucets show no detectable lead. This likely indicates a localized issue.

Facilities Management is investigating potential causes of the elevated level in the stagnant water sample taken at the first faucet. Until this investigation is complete and further testing shows lead levels below the guidelines, existing consumption restrictions will remain in place. In addition to the bottled water currently being supplied to the Childcare Centre, a permanent chilled and filtered water station with a lead-removing filter is being installed in that building.

Similar results were found in both Computing Services and the QEII Library, with the first sample taken from stagnant water showing the presence of lead at levels higher than the guidelines. Other samples taken from the same faucet were well below the guidelines, as were multiple samples taken at the mid and far faucets. Again, this likely indicates a localized issue. Facilities Management is investigating potential causes of the elevated level at the first faucet. Remediation and further testing will follow.

Chemistry-Physics remains under consumption restrictions based on initial testing, which showed an elevated level at a fifth floor water fountain. Remediation has occurred and further testing is underway. While current Queen’s College test results do not show an elevated level of lead, that building remains under pre-existing water consumption restrictions. Bottled water will continue to be provided to this location.

As information is available regarding the results of this investigation, it will be shared with the university community via Newsline and

For a complete listing of status by building, visit


Environmental Health & Safety

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000