With reports of high levels of lead found in water supplies across the country, Mayor Gerald Aalbers is settling the worries of residents by confirming no lead pipes are used by the city.
“We don’t have any lead pipes to worry about in the city. I’ve been assured by the administration that it is the case. When the automated water meter measuring system that was installed we had contractors and staff in everyone’s house and they did not find any lead pipes in anyone’s residence or property.”
Over 100 journalists conducted a year-long study that found high levels of lead in the tap water in homes across the country. The element found in the water is caused by lead pipes found in ageing infrastructure and plumbing.
Homes built over 40 years ago are at the greatest risk as they are the ones most likely to have lead plumbing. The pipes are grey in colour, generally, do not attract a magnet and can easily be scratched by a knife or key. The scratch will look more silver in colour rather than a copper colour.
Current federal safety guidelines indicate lead levels should not exceed five parts per billion. Aalbers says the latest tests showed city water levels to have 0.001 ppb. The investigation found lead levels of up to 428 ppb in Edmonton in 2017.
Health Canada says at high levels of exposure, lead can damage the prefrontal cortex, contribute to behavioural problems in children and cause prenatal growth abnormalities. In adults, it is a risk factor in hypertension, chronic kidney disease and tremors.
Aalbers says the reports on the city’s water quality are available for people to see by contacting the city. EPCOR also has a lead management program which keeps track of lead service lines and sends annual letters to residents with them.
To confirm whether a resident has a lead service line, they can contact EPCOR at 780-412-6858 or [email protected].
Those worried about lead piping on their private residence outside of the city can contact a plumber or home inspector to check the pipes.