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The Town of High Level would like to provide some local perspective on a national story regarding levels of lead in the drinking water across many Canadian cities.
A year-long investigative report involving a number of media organizations has revealed that many older communities across Canada are facing issues with lead in their drinking water. The report has resulted in calls for governments at all levels to look into the matter more seriously.
Local residents can be assured there is no lead present in the Town’s source water, nor is there lead present in the municipal water supply provided to local residents.
The issue of lead in drinking water largely comes from the use of lead in service connections from water mains to homes and housing complexes prior to the 1960s. These old pipes can dissolve, or “leach,” lead into water as it flows through them. Beginning in the 1950s, alternative materials such as copper and plastic started being used in place of lead.
Because the Town of High Level is a young and vibrant community, the distribution system for drinking water in the Town of High Level has no lead piping in it – as is present in some older community water systems.
Using lead in water lines was a permitted use by the National Plumbing Code of Canada until 1975. Use of lead solder was permitted until 1986. Solder containing lead for drinking water supplies was prohibited after 1990.
Anyone who lives in an older home who has any concerns about the possibility of lead being present in their water lines may choose to have a plumber or home inspector inspect the lines for the presence of lead containing products and may recommend water testing options.
The results of that testing can be forwarded to AHS, and staff will work with those residents to assist them in addressing potential issues with the type of water system materials they have and will provide advice or direction on the next steps required.
Due to the fact lead tends to leach into water over time, potential exposure can be reduced by allowing water to run for a few minutes prior to drinking, and always use cold water for drinking and cooking.
For more information, please contact Alberta Health Services at AHS.Corp@albertahealthservices.ca, or by phone at 780-342-2000, or toll-free at 1-888-342-2471.