The City of Winnipeg is offering free water quality testing for residents who may have lead water pipes, as the Government of Canada has recently reduced the maximum allowable lead level in drinking water to 0.005 mg/L.
Lead is a common, natural metal found throughout the environment. Lead can be harmful if too much of it enters the body. Pregnant women and children are most at risk of the effects of lead.
Most Winnipeggers will not be impacted by the new guidelines for lead in drinking water, as the City’s source water at Shoal Lake has no detectable lead. Orthophosphate, a food-grade phosphoric acid, is also added during the treatment process. It forms a protective coating inside water pipes which helps reduce corrosion that can add lead to the water supply. However, residents who have lead pipes or lead in other parts of their plumbing may have increased levels of lead in their water if the water sits in the pipes.
Starting today, letters will be sent to residents whose properties have been identified as possibly having lead water pipes. Residents who would like to take advantage of the free water quality testing can contact 311. The City will collect a water sample, analyze it, and provide the results to the resident within 30 days.
Please note that the City does not go door-to-door to offer water testing.
Tips for homeowners
Homeowners with lead pipes or connections can reduce lead exposure by following these tips:
For more information about lead in drinking water and lead control programs for Winnipeg, visit winnipeg.ca/leadprogram.