City of Wetaskiwin Lead Management Program

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What is this program all about?

The City of Wetaskiwin is a leader in the area of lead management. The City has the support of City Council as well as policies and plans in place to help eliminate all lead water service lines in the city.

The City of Wetaskiwin—and all municipalities across Canada—have been mandated by Health Canada to conform to stricter lead limits in municipal drinking water. As a result, the City must increase water sampling from households across the City before the end of September 2021. The samples can only be taken between May to September, so it is the City's goal to perform some of the required tests in 2020 by the end of September, and the rest between May to September 2021.

The City is seeking the cooperation of its residents to allow a City technician to come into their home to take a small water sample from either their kitchen or bathroom tap and also to briefly inspect their water service line on either side of their water meter. This should only take between 15-20 minutes. Residents will receive the results of the water testing from their homes which will let them know if they have higher than recommended lead levels in their drinking water.

*Results will be shared with the residents as soon as possible after receiving results back from the third-party testing lab*

Background:

Prior to March 2019, acceptable maximum lead levels in municipal drinking water were set at 10 PPB, and compliance had to be met at the distribution point. After March 2019, Health Canada lowered the maximum acceptable lead levels in municipal drinking water by half to 5 PPB, and compliance must now be met at the customer's tap. *where PPB=Parts Per Billion, or micrograms/litre*


What is this program all about?

The City of Wetaskiwin is a leader in the area of lead management. The City has the support of City Council as well as policies and plans in place to help eliminate all lead water service lines in the city.

The City of Wetaskiwin—and all municipalities across Canada—have been mandated by Health Canada to conform to stricter lead limits in municipal drinking water. As a result, the City must increase water sampling from households across the City before the end of September 2021. The samples can only be taken between May to September, so it is the City's goal to perform some of the required tests in 2020 by the end of September, and the rest between May to September 2021.

The City is seeking the cooperation of its residents to allow a City technician to come into their home to take a small water sample from either their kitchen or bathroom tap and also to briefly inspect their water service line on either side of their water meter. This should only take between 15-20 minutes. Residents will receive the results of the water testing from their homes which will let them know if they have higher than recommended lead levels in their drinking water.

*Results will be shared with the residents as soon as possible after receiving results back from the third-party testing lab*

Background:

Prior to March 2019, acceptable maximum lead levels in municipal drinking water were set at 10 PPB, and compliance had to be met at the distribution point. After March 2019, Health Canada lowered the maximum acceptable lead levels in municipal drinking water by half to 5 PPB, and compliance must now be met at the customer's tap. *where PPB=Parts Per Billion, or micrograms/litre*


  • Background Information

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    14 Aug 2020
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    What's changed?

    Health Canada reduced the lead limits in drinking water from 10 PPB to 5 PPB in March 2019. They also changed the location where compliance must be met from the distribution point of the system to the customer's tap. Municipalities received a letter in November 2019 informing them of the change and the phase deadlines that must be met.

    A complete system assessment must be completed by the end of September 2021. Water samples may only be taken between May to September each year, so the City of Wetaskiwin Utilities department has a goal of completing at least 10 samples by the end of September 2020, with the remaining 50 to 60 samples being taken May to September next year.

    More information can be found in Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical Document – Lead. This document and other useful links and resources can also be found in the Important Links and Helpful Videos section on the main page.

  • How do I know if I have a lead service line in my home?

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    14 Aug 2020

    There is a fairly easy test that anyone can perform at home called a Scratch Test. All you need to perform the test is a coin—like a quarter or a loonie—and to know where your water meter is located (usually in the basement of your home).

    Watch this 5 1/2 minute video, courtesy of the City of Hamilton, on how to do a simple Scratch Test at home.

    *The link to this video can also be found in the Helpful Videos section on the main page.*

  • What should I do if I think I have high levels of lead in my drinking water?

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    14 Aug 2020

    There are several recommended actions you can take if you suspect that you have higher than 5 PPB of lead in your drinking water:

    1. Take part in the Lead Water Pipe Replacement Program. The City of Wetaskiwin has a Lead Service Replacement Policy which outlines the process in which the City of Wetaskiwin will replace your lead water service lines and provide funding options to assist homeowners with the costs associated with replacing the private water service lines in their home. The policy can be found on the City website.

    2. Install and maintain a water filtration device that meets the NSF International 053 guideline to remove lead. Reverse osmosis and distillation systems work to remove lead when installed at the tap. When using Point of Use (POU) systems, you must follow the manufacturer's installation, maintenance and operation instructions carefully to ensure that the filter is effective.

    3. Run your taps for the freshest water. The longer water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain. Running cold water from the faucets you use for drinking can improve water quality by drawing fresh water into the home. The most important time to flush is after long periods of no use (more than 6 hours), such as first thing in the morning, after work, or upon returning from vacation. Run the water for at least one minute.

    4. Never use hot water from the tap for drinking and food preparation. This precaution should be taken when there are lead water service lines on the homeowner's side of the water meter. Only use cold water for drinking and food preparation—then heat it. Hot water leaches more metals than cold water.

    5. Contact the City of Wetaskiwin. A technician will schedule an appointment to come take a water sample from inside your residence and will let you know the results when they are received back from the third party testing lab. You can either email paul.bilyeu@wetaskiwin.ca or call 780.361.4400 for more information.