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Lead and Water Service Lines

Lead service lines were only used for a short time, before 1955 when copper was not readily available. The City of Lethbridge's data shows that it is uncommon to find a property or business built after 1955 that has lead service lines. Water provided by the City of Lethbridge contains very low levels of lead. Tests of our drinking water have consistently shown lead levels of less than 0.2 parts per billion, only 4% of the 5 parts per billion maximum acceptable limit.


Today, according to our records, there are approximately 200 homes in Lethbridge that may have lead service lines. When compared to the total number of over 34,000 connections in the City, this represents only 0.59% of homes receiving water service. In other words, according to our records, we would expect that over 99% of Lethbridge homes do not have lead water service lines. In July of 2020 letters are being mailed to all owners and occupants of properties that are suspected to have a lead service line. The City of Lethbridge's goal is to eliminate all lead service lines within the city by the end of 2021.


Lead Action Plan Explained


 


What is a service line

Service lines carry water from the water main, which runs down each street, into your home. Ownership for water service lines is shared between the City of Lethbridge and the homeowner.


Service Line Web.png

  
Accordion Answer
  

​In March 2019, Health Canada published a new maximum acceptable concentration for lead in drinking water as part of the Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality. Alberta Environment and Parks have adopted these guidelines and the City of Lethbridge's goal is to eliminate all lead service lines in the city by the end of 2021.

Letters have been mailed to the owners and occupants of properties whom our records show, may have lead service lines. If you have received a letter please call 311 to book an appointment. City staff will come to your home to conduct a visual test of the water service line, as well as take a water sample.

  

Locate your water meter, typically found in the basement and look at the pipe coming up through the basement floor into the water meter. Lead service lines:

  • Are grey in colour 
  • Don't echo if gently struck
  • Scratch easily 
  • Don't attract magnets
  • Leave metallic marks when you rub the scratched area against white paper

The vast majority of water service connections are copper and the newest ones are plastic. If a property was built before 1955 and it is suspected that there is a lead service connection call 311 to book a service request or email your questions to leadprogram@lethbridge.ca

  
  • Flush water from the cold water tap for 2 minutes if it has been sitting for 6+ hours
  • Use cold water tap for drinking and preparing food. Water from the hot water tap may contain more lead than cold water
  • Boiling your water will not remove lead
  • Children under the age of six and pregnant women could consider alternate sources of drinking water
  • You can use a filter that is approved to remove lead 
  • Make sure any filtration product you purchase is certified as meeting the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) International standard for lead reduction. Visit the NSF website at http://www.nsf.org/consumer/ or contact them at 1-877-867-3435

For health-related questions contact Chinook Health at 403-388-6650.



  

​Below is a list of neighbourhoods where service connections may be made of lead. According to our records, we would not expect to find lead in any other Lethbridge neighbourhoods.

Neighbourhood
​Potential Lead Service Lines
​Downtown
​7
​Fleetwood
​26
​Victoria Park
​9
​Lakeview
​53
​London Road
​15
​Senator Buchanan
​2
​St. Edwards
​6
​Staffordville
​19
​Upper East Side
23
​Glendale
​4
​Westminster
​30

> Map of Lethbridge Neighborhoods

  

​No. Typically, lead levels in the Oldman River are very low and the finished drinking water produced at the water treatment plant is virtually lead-free. Tests of our drinking water have consistently shown lead levels less than 0.2 parts per billion, only 4 percent of the 5 parts per billion maximum acceptable limit. Further, the high mineral content (hardness and alkalinity) of the water in Lethbridge greatly reduces the amount of lead that the water can acquire from plumbing fixtures that may contain lead. Our water tends to leave a mineral scale rather than corrode metal fixtures. 

  

The City has informed all property owners that we suspect, may have a lead service line.  Water quality testing will take place in the Summer of 2020.  The results of the testing will tell us if there are lead service lines present and the results will be shared with the property owner. Whenever a lead service line is found, the City will make plans to replace the service line at no cost to the homeowner.  A point of use filter that is certified to filter out 99.9% of lead will be provided to occupants of the home until the service line is replaced.