City of Brandon Update on Lead Water Services Information

May 6, 2016


Brandon, MB – The City of Brandon’s Engineering and Water Services Department wishes to provide the community with an update on its continued efforts to understand and address the issue of potentially higher than normal lead concentrations at the water tap in some of Brandon’s older neighbourhoods.

A draft provincial study released in 2013 indicated that in some older Brandon homes where lead water service connections are present, lead concentration levels were found to be in excess of current national drinking water guidelines of 0.01 milligrams per litre.

City of Brandon Director of Engineering Services and Water Resources Patrick Pulak says it is very important that residents know that Brandon’s drinking water supply leaving the City’s water treatment system continues to be safe and meets the provincial standards for lead concentrations, and the issue is strictly that of older individual service hook-ups in specific areas of Brandon. A map of areas thought to still have lead service hook-ups is available here. Pulak says there are a number of long-term and short-term mitigation strategies that are being thoughtfully examined.

“We will be undertaking a pilot project later this year where we can study the effects of adding a substance called orthophosphate to the water at our Water Treatment Plant, which may help reduce the leaching effect of lead into the treated drinking water as it makes its way through the City’s distribution system and into the home,” Pulak explains. “While we understand that orthophosphate is used in some other Manitoba municipalities as a lead leaching mitigation method, we need to understand how it may work with our water source’s unique chemistry before we move forward with potential implementation.”

Pulak adds that longer-term strategies, such as the potential removal of all remaining lead service connections from under the ground, still need to be discussed with the community and considered by Brandon City Council.

In the short-term, the City of Brandon continues to offer assistance to homeowners in the identified areas where lead services may be present who wish to determine if their tap water may contain higher than normal levels of lead. The City of Brandon continues to offer testing kits at a cost of $20 for residents in areas where lead services are thought to be present. Full details on this program can be found by visiting the City of Brandon’s  Lead Water Services Information webpage.  

The webpage also includes information about how residents who have determined they have higher lead concentrations at the tap can reduce exposure, one of which is installing a point-of-use water filter that meets NSF International/ American National Standards Institute standards for lead removal. Information is also available regarding the City of Brandon’s current cost-sharing program for replacing lead hook-up services, which provides for a 50-50 cost-split for replacement of such hook-up services on the City’s property. City administration is currently examining the potential of allowing residents to finance their portion of the replacement cost through the municipality.

The City of Brandon also continues to work with the Province of Manitoba’s Department of Sustainable Development and the Department of Health, Seniors and Active Living on the development of information material that will soon be distributed to residents and homeowners where lead water services may be present.

“While the City of Brandon has been looking closely at the issue since it was first brought to the community’s attention, we appreciate that we need to reinvigorate and step up our communications with the residents for which the potential for higher lead concentrations in their tap water may exist,” adds Brandon Mayor Rick Chrest. “We know that the issue of higher than normal lead concentrations in some Brandon residents’ drinking water is of utmost importance and it is our responsibility to keep our public informed on how we are working to resolve this issue as expeditiously as possible.”

General questions about lead water services in Brandon or how residents can voluntarily have their drinking water tested for lead concentrations can be directed to the City of Brandon’s Engineering Department at 204-729-2477.