News Release

REF NO.: 197

SUBJECT: Most of Memorial University's St. John's campus closed on July 31, 2015

DATE: July 30, 2015

The Prince Philip Drive portion of Memorial University’s St. John’s Campus (known as the north and south campuses) will be closed for faculty, staff and students on Friday, July 31, as a result of water quality testing results in two buildings that indicated higher than acceptable levels of lead in the water supply.

Further work is required to provide assurance that the water supply meets acceptable Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines, so the university’s Prince Philip Drive facilities will remain closed until follow-up testing is complete or an alternate source of drinking water can be provided.

The buildings tested were Engineering and Applied Science, Music and Education. Levels were elevated in both Engineering (44 micrograms/litre) and Music (29 micrograms/litre), while levels in Education were below 10 micrograms/litre, which is within Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.

“The health and safety of our employees, students and visitors is paramount,” said Kent Decker, Memorial’s vice-president (administration and finance). “The university is acting with an abundance of caution until we can ensure there is a safe supply of water.”

Work has commenced to re-test the two affected buildings to determine the validity of the initial results and to expand the testing to all buildings on the Prince Philip Drive portion of the campus as a precaution. As well, the university is looking into alternate sources of drinking water that could be provided in the interim.

Students are advised that any exams scheduled on Friday, July 31, for on-campus courses will take place in the next regularly scheduled class.

Provisions have been made for alternate drinking water supply for employees required to work, food service operators and occupants of residences, which will remain open. As a precaution, employees and students are advised to dispose of any stored tap water or ice.

Individuals participating in events hosted external groups scheduled to be held on campus should check with individual event organizers regarding the status.

An update will be provided as to reopening of the university’s facilities as soon as more information is available.  For more information about Canadian Drinking water guidelines, click here.

This closure does not apply to the Marine Institute or its related locations, the Ocean Sciences Centre, the Botantical Garden, the Vivarium or university operations at Tiffany Court.

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