Some of you have asked me and other councillors questions about media reports that found lead in water. Here are some details from the regional staff.
I can’t speak for others, but in Halton region the potential for lead in our drinking water system is extremely low. In fact, we have one of the highest compliance ratings – over 99% compliance.
Our high compliance rating is a result of all the proactive and continuous measures Halton Region has taken over the past decade to ensure we are delivering the safest and highest quality drinking water possible. In 2007, the Region undertook a Cast Iron Watermain Replacement Program. This program identified and replaced all old cast iron watermains in Halton Region, while at the same time replacing all known lead public service lines and connections. Since that time, all known public lead service lines and connections have been replaced. As part of our continuous monitoring, we investigate the neighborhood for the presence of lead as part of any watermain project or at the time of a water main break. If lead is observed, Halton Region takes immediate corrective action and replaces the service line or connection. Since the Cast Iron Watermain Replacement Program was completed, lead services have been observed 3 times within the public right-of-way and those services were removed. Moreover, if a lead service line was observed, on private property, the homeowners were notified and provided with guidance on private side corrective actions required (e.g., replacement of private service lines and indoor plumbing, or flushing).
In addition to these programs, we have been helping homeowners check for the presence of lead to ensure safe drinking water:
· Halton has recently replaced over 14,000 water meters in older areas of Halton Region as part of the Pulse Water Meter Replacement Program. Of the 14,000 homes that have had their meter replaced through the program, no private water services was observed to be lead.· We will continue to look for the presence of lead water services on the private property side through the upcoming Advanced Meter Replacement (AMI) program, where all homes will be required to have their meters upgraded or replaced.
Although Halton’s drinking water is safe and the risk of lead is very low, there may be lead in the water from pipe fittings and connections in older homes (e.g. build prior to the 1960’s). We are helping to educate residents on how to check their plumbing. If a resident has any concerns, we will be sending a Halton representative to check their connections and provide guidance on corrective actions required.
Lastly, I would like to confirm that students were not exposed to water that exceeded the Provincial limit for lead at White Oaks Secondary School in Oakville. The 140 µg/L level reported in the Globe and Mail was the result from a standing water sample taken during the summer. This test occurred before the school opened for the school year, corrective actions were taken as part of the requirements and resampling of flushed water (water that would be consumed) was within the acceptable provincial limit for lead. School Boards are responsible under the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 to conduct regular lead testing, pipe flushing and pipe replacements to ensure the safety of the water within schools.
The health and safety of our residents is our number one priority. We will continue our surveillance measures and control programs to ensure we meet the drinking water quality standards and provide our residents with the assurance that our water is high quality and safe to drink.
Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions,