Since taking ownership of the water network from The City of Montreal in 2006, Westmount has been actively replacing the public portion of the lead service entries within its annual capital works investment strategy and its Public Works water maintenance program. To date, an estimated 40% of the public portion of the water services have been replaced. More details are available on the city website.
Revised standards for lead in tap water
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 in Westmount may exceed the Quebec Standard for lead content in water.
Reducing exposure to lead in drinking water
The Direction régionale de sante publique du CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-del’Ile-de-Montréal considers the health risks to be low. To reduce to a minimum this risk, it is recommended to use a filter that is NSF/ANSI Standard No. 53 approved or certified. The filters are available in hardware stores. A few other simple actions can help reduce exposure to lead in the tap water:
- After not being used for a long period of time, tap water should be run for at least two (2) minutes before being consuming;
- Always use cold water for cooking (coffee, tea, cooking vegetables, pasta, rice, etc.)
- Clean the aerator (small mesh screen) of your faucet regularly.
Residents wishing to have their water tested may do so (at their own cost) by contacting a laboratory that is accredited by the Ministère de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques. Click here to consult the list of accredited laboratories.
Investing in the municipal water infrastructure
The City of Westmount has always and will continue to provide the best service to its residents. 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. We have maintained a 100% completion rate of these projects over this same period.
At its November 4th Council meeting, Westmount City Council approved a 25% increase in the 2020 capital budget attributed to water main infrastructure projects, including the replacement of lead services. We will continue to work with our partners at all levels of the government on this important matter and will continue to encourage and remind residents to replace the private portion of the water services while the City carries out work on their streets.