STANDARD FOR LEAD CONTENT IN DRINKING WATER
The Quebec Government regulates the quality of drinking water and sets the standards. For decades, the maximum standard for lead content in drinking water was 50 micrograms per litre (µg/L). In 2001, to minimize the public’s exposure to lead, the standard for maximum acceptable lead content was revised from 50 µg/L to 10 µg/L.
In March 2019, Health Canada recommended that the maximum acceptable amount of lead in water be further reduced to 5 µg/L. In October 2019 the provincial government announced that Quebec will become the first province to adopt the recently lowered norms. Following this new norm, some homes and building in Westmount may exceed the Quebec Standard for lead content in water.
IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW
- The drinking water across the island of Montreal is of very good quality and there are no lead water mains in our network.
- Not all homes are affected. Homes built prior to 1970 have an increased likelihood of having a lead water connection. This is a result of changes in construction practices as lead connections were no longer being installed.
- Buildings having 8 or more units as well as most institutions and commercial buildings (including those built prior to 1970) do not have a lead service connection. Water services with diameters of 1½” or greater, required for larger buildings, were not manufactured in lead.
WHAT WESTMOUNT IS DOING
The City of Westmount took ownership of the water mains and the public portion of the water services from the City of Montreal in 2006. As of 2007, the City has been actively replacing lead services through the annual capital works programme as well as through the Public Works’ annual water maintenance programme. To date, an estimated 40% of lead water services in Westmount have been replaced with copper services.
Since 2015, the City has undertaken an aggressive water main replacement and rehabilitation investment plan, including the replacement of the public portion of the water services. A 100% completion rate of these projects has been achieved over this same period.
On November 4th , 2019, Westmount City Council adopted a 25% increase in the 2020 capital budget attributed to water main infrastructure projects including the replacement of lead services has been adopted . The tentative three-year investment plan for the water network, including the replacement of the public portion of the water services are as follows:
Claremont (Sherbrooke to Cote St Antoine)
Lexington (Sunnyside to City limit)
Mt Pleasant(Sherbrooke to Holton)
|Forden (Montrose to Westmount)
Sunnyside (Lexington to Victoria)
Claremont (Sherbrooke to Ste Catherine)
Edgehill (Lexington to Boulevard East)
|Grosvenor (Boulevard to Westmount)
Belmont Cres (Belmont to Park limit)
Important Note: This list is tentative and may change as a result of emergency situations, water main breaks or other important events impacting the network.
Building owners are strongly recommended to proceed with the replacement of the private portion of the lead service (the section of pipe between the property line and the residence) while the City carries out work on their street.
Simple actions can also help reduce the lead exposure from drinking water :
- After not being use for a long period of time, run tap water for at least two (2) minutes before consuming it.
- Always use cold water for cooking (coffee, tea, cooking vegetables, pasta, rice, etc.)
- Clean the aerator (small mesh screen) of your faucet regularly.
- Install certified NSF/AINSI 53 lead filter
– Note: it is useless to boil the water: lead does not evaporate and is not destroyed by boiling.
WATER SAMPLING AND TESTING
Residents can test their water (at their own cost) for lead by contacting a laboratory that is accredited by the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.
For more information, you may visit:
Public Health agency
Direction régionale de santé publique du CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’île-de-Montréal: www.santemontreal.qc.ca/leadinwater
Government regulations :
Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques (MELCC): http://www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/eau/potable/plomb/index.htm