City is testing lead water lines

  • Aug. 23, 2010 10:34 p.m.

The City is on the lookout for homes built before the early 1960s that may have lead water service lines.

City Council heard Monday about details of homeowners being contacted by letter within the next week if their homes allowed for the use of lead piping for water services.

Pre-1960 building codes allowed for the use of lead piping and there are about 3,500 homes in Red Deer where the service piping material is unknown.

“It could be copper, it could be lead, plastic or iron, so the first step is let’s just find out how many lead services we have,” said Tom Warder, environmental services manager.

The next step would be a testing of the home’s water to see if there is an issue of lead concentration, he said. “If there was a problem, then we would work with the resident.”

He said ultimately, the City would want to remove the lead surfaces altogether.

Currently, Environmental Services replaces the City’s portion of lead service lines whenever they are found during routine construction projects in neighbourhoods.

Homeowners often choose to replace their portion of services lines at the same time, he said.

“Now we are taking a more proactive approach in trying to find the piping,” he said.

It’s normally more efficient when the City and the homeowner replace both of their portions of the water service system at the same time, and some systems can be ‘pulled through’ rather than excavated.

Warder said it’s expected that the lead service identification program will speed up the demand for lead service replacement work. From there, it could take a number of years to catch up with all the replacement demands that could surface, he said.

“Depending on how many we find, it may take us a number of years.”

There are strategies to limit the exposure to lead in drinking water, including the use of filtration devices or flushing out standing water in pipes after periods when they haven’t been used for some time.

The City expects that several hundred of the homes to be tested will have a lead water service.

Health Canada guidelines require that 60 initial and 30 ongoing sample locations for lead testing are to be taken during the summer months only. That’s because warmer weather causes increased potential for lead leaching in warmer water.

Currently, the City uses a caustic soda treatment to balance the pH of the finished water and minimize water corrosion. This practice creates a protective film which coats the inside of the pipes and minimizes lead seepage.

“The City of Red Deer’s water is safe and is continually tested to ensure it meets all provincial water quality standards,” said Randy Reaman, Water Superintendent with the City of Red Deer. “This study will help us gather information to use as a baseline to develop future testing protocols to maintain our high drinking water standards.”

Red Deer’s drinking water comes from the Water Treatment Plant and is virtually lead-free, and officials say the lead level content in Red Deer’s drinking water distribution system is well within the Health Canada guidelines for corrosion control in water distribution systems (2009).

The study is expected to be completed in late October, and the City will continue to work with homeowners as results come in.

Just Posted

Gord Bamford Foundation Charity Gala brings the stars to Central Alberta

The Gala raises money for various children’s charities throughout Canada

The Dragonfly Children’s Healing Centre set to open next month

Expanded programming will broaden scope of The Outreach Centre’s work

Special air quality statement in effect for Central Alberta

Wildfire smoke from B.C. covering 95 per cent of the province

Blackfalds RCMP warn of attempts to steal property

This week two males attempted to steal a utility vehicle from a rural property

Tools for Schools program in need of school supplies for students

Supplies will be donated to students across Central Alberta

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin has died

Publicist Gwendolyn Quinn reports Franklin passed Thursday at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit

‘Billion-piece jigsaw puzzle:’ Canadians key to 1st complete map of wheat genome

The paper has 202 authors from 73 research agencies in 20 countries.

Airbnb’s federal budget proposal tells Liberals, ‘we want to be regulated’

Submission says ‘we want to be regulated’ and asks the government to avoid forcing existing rules

Ponoka RCMP arrest man after setting shed on fire

The man used an axe to destroy a shed before setting it on fire

UPDATED: B.C. RCMP dismantle Kinder Morgan protest camp

RCMP say they will enforce a court injunction today and remove Trans Mountain pipeline protesters who have been camped outside a Kinder Morgan terminal in Burnaby.

Italy says death toll will mount in Genoa bridge collapse

Authorities worried about the stability of remaining large sections of a partially collapsed bridge evacuated about 630 people from nearby apartments.

Former CIA Director: Trump worked with Russians and now he’s desperate

In an opinion piece in The New York Times, John Brennan cites press reports and Trump’s own goading of Russia during the campaign to find Democrat Hillary Clinton’s missing emails.

Church sex scandal: Abuse victims want a full reckoning

Since the crisis exploded in Boston in 2002, dioceses around the country have dealt with similar revelations of widespread sexual abuse.

Baloney Meter: is flow of asylum seekers at Canada-U.S. border a ‘crisis’?

“I think any time you have a government that allows 30,000 people over the course of a short period of time to come into Canada illegally, the impact that that has, that is a crisis,” said Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.

Most Read