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Lead Water Services Information


1. Why does the issue of lead levels in tap water continue to be discussed in Brandon?

Preliminary results from a Province of Manitoba study on lead concentrations in drinking water were shared with Brandon in late January of 2013 and indicate that, in some older Brandon homes where lead water service connections are present, lead concentration levels have been found to be in excess of current national drinking water guidelines, which is currently 0.01 milligrams per litre.

This information is being provided to the public to remind water users that lead water service connections continue to be in place in some areas of Brandon, and to advise on the steps to be taken to reduce the chance of consuming drinking water with elevated lead levels. Children and unborn children are the most sensitive to lead exposure.


It is important to note that Brandon’s drinking water supply leaving the City’s water treatment plant continues to be safe and meets the provincial standards for lead concentrations. The issue noted above relates to older individual water service connections in older areas of Brandon. City watermains run underneath the streets and water service connections come out from the watermain to each of the buildings on a street. The water service connection that runs from the watermain underneath a street to the curb is the City’s responsibility, while the water service connection that continues from the curb into a property and up to its water meter is the property owner’s responsibility.

2. How do I know if my home could have a lead water service connection?

Homes built before 1950 are the most likely to have a lead service connection. You may wish to visit the City of Brandon’s Tax and Assessment Map to help determine the age of your home here. Based on the assumption that homes built prior to 1950 have the potential to have a lead water service connection, the City of Brandon has created a Potential Lead Water Service Connection Catchment Area Map, which can be viewed here

The City of Brandon cannot confirm where underground lead services may or may not exist on private property. As such, this map should only be used as a guide to help Brandon property owners determine if they may be impacted by a lead water service connection. 

One way to determine if you have a lead service running from your property line into your home may first wish to check their water intake valve, which should be exposed at the point where their water service connects to their water meter. If the service line is greyish-silver in colour (as opposed to copper-coloured), it most likely is a lead service.

If you are unsure about whether you have a lead water service connection in your home, contact a certified plumber or the City of Brandon’s Lead Water Services Information Line at 204-729-2527. Lead water service connections usually create the highest lead levels but older brass plumbing fixtures or leaded solder within the home may increase drinking water lead levels.

 

3. How do I know if my home’s tap water could have lead concentrations higher than the national guideline?

The City of Brandon urges individuals that the only definitive way to determine potential elevated lead levels in drinking water is to undertake lead testing by a certified lab.

The City of Brandon is urging anyone who might be concerned about lead levels in their drinking water to take advantage of a volunteer sample testing program being administered by the City of Brandon, in partnership with ALS Environmental Labs of Winnipeg. (See details immediately below).

 

4. How do I test my tap water for lead concentration levels?

Any resident of the City of Brandon who is concerned or curious about lead concentrations in their tap water can participate in Brandon’s volunteer sample testing program.

Sample bottles can be picked up from the Engineering Department’s office at the A.R. McDiarmid Civic Services Complex, 638 Princess Avenue (7th Street Entrance). Bottles can be picked up between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and from 1:15 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Residents will be required to take the bottle home and fill it with a water sample from their tap after 2 minutes of flushing the water line. Residents should ensure they adhere to the test kit's instructions to ensure an accurate sample is collected.

Once collected, the samples should be brought back to the Engineering Department. The City will ship the samples to ALS Environmental Labs for testing. When test results come in, the City will send them to the homeowner.

For more information on how to voluntarily have your drinking water tested for lead concentrations, individuals can call the City of Brandon Lead Water Services Information Line at 204-729-2527.

5. What is the cost of this lead concentration test?

For people who live in areas most thought to have lead service connections (as per the City of Brandon’s Potential Lead Water Service Connection Catchment Map as mentioned above), the cost will be a low fee of $20. All other Brandon residents who don’t have lead service connections, but who are still curious or concerned about lead concentration levels in their water, can still pick up sample bottles and go through the same process, but will have to pay $45 for their test. 

 

6. How long will it take to get my results?

Once lab-tested sample results are returned to the City, water samples will be shipped into Winnipeg daily. Verified results from ALS Environmental Labs will then be sent back to the City of Brandon and forwarded on the homeowner by mail. It will take approximately 7-14 business days to receive the results.

 

7. What should I do if my test results come back showing elevated lead concentrations?

You can take steps to reduce lead levels at the drinking water tap by:

a.      Using cold water from the cold water tap for drinking and cooking.

b.      Cleaning the aerator regularly on taps used for drinking water to remove any particles that may be caught there.

c.      Avoiding drinking tap water that has been sitting in the lead service line or plumbing system for a long time (ex: overnight or during the workday).  Flush the toilet, take a shower or  do a load of laundry first thing in the morning or after work to clear water from the service line; then run the tap until the water is cold to clear water from the plumbing.  Fill a container with cold fresh water and keep it in the fridge for drinking and cooking.

d.      If lead levels at the tap are above the national guideline of 0.010 mg/L, install a point-of-use treatment device that is NSF certified for lead removal on the tap used for drinking and cooking or use bottled water for drinking and cooking. More information about the City of Brandon Water Filter Rebate Program are available immediately below.

e.      All residents can take steps to reduce their exposure to lead at the drinking water tap regardless of whether they have a lead service line by following the above methods.

 

8. How can I apply for a water filter rebate through the City of Brandon's Water  Filter Rebate Program?

The City of Brandon will provide a one-time rebate of up to $100 to assist eligible property owners/occupants in the purchase of an NSF-certified water filter for lead removal. The program is open to all property owners/occupants who meet the following criteria: confirmation of a lead service connection; OR confirmation of test results which show lead at levels higher than national drinking water guidelines. Please click on this link for more information on how to apply for a rebate via the City of Brandon's 2016 Water Filter Rebate Program, or contact the City of Brandon's Lead Water Services Information Line directly at 204-729-2527 or at waterfilterrebate@brandon.ca

 

9. How can I work with the City of Brandon to replace my lead water service connection?

The City of Brandon currently offers a program through which it will provide coordinate and cost-share the replacement of lead water services with property owners. A reminder to all property owners that the City's financial responsibility is limited to the public right-of-way (from the water main to the property line). For more information about the program, call the City of Brandon’s Engineering Department at 204-729-2477.

 

10. Where can I find more information about the health impacts of lead?

The Province of Manitoba's Lead in Drinking Water Fact Sheet can be viewed here.

 

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