Lead in drinking water ... what to do ?

Source: MSDEP

How to check for a service entrance lead at home?

In Quebec, the risk is low that entrances lead service lines were installed to connect homes to the municipal water supply after 1970. This practice has also been banned by the Plumbing Code in 1980.

If you suspect the presence of a service entrance of lead, it is sometimes possible to check the drinking water at the entrance of water from the building. The water inlet located in the basement line is visible if the interior walls have been installed. A driving lead is metallic gray color, has no resonance when it is struck with a metal object, which is inert when a magnet approaches.

For cons, the service entrance consists of two sections: one that belongs to the head of the distribution system and that which belongs to the owner of the residence, the limit being the shutoff valve is usually located on the outside on the grounds of the residence. Both sections can be lead, but it is possible that the section of the service entrance belonging to the owner is not in the lead section belonging to the system manager is.

The municipality may be able to educate residents about the presence of this type of service entrance in the distribution system.

How to analyze tap water?

The analysis of lead in water samples taken from the cold water kitchen tap may detect contamination. The first step is to contact your municipality to see if samples have been or will be made by it.

If the resident wants itself to analyze their drinking water, they should contact an accredited laboratory that will provide containers and appropriate instructions for the collection and transport of samples. An updated list of accredited laboratories is available on the website of the Ministry. Laboratories are classified by administrative region and make sure that the selected laboratory is accredited for the analysis of lead in drinking water.

What can I do to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water?

It is important to note that the risk related to exposure to lead especially for pregnant women (fetal), infants and children under six years. From the point of view of public health, it is important to always use the cold water tap for ingestion and food preparation (including water for cooking) and never use water that has been sitting in pipelines, especially after a long period of time, such as after waking up or in the evening to return home. A good practice is also to remove and clean the aerator regularly (small filter) placed in the spout.

In the absence of input lead service, you can let the water run for a minute or two or wait until the water became colder before filling his glass.

In the presence of a service entrance lead, we must let the water run until it became colder, and from that time, it is important to let it run a minute or two more order eliminating the stagnant water in the entrance. These general measures reduce exposure to lead in drinking water.

Note that even if one is in the presence of a service entrance lead, tap water can be compliant lead because several factors influence the concentrations of lead in drinking water (pH and alkalinity of the water, length and diameter of the entrance lead service, age and type of lead solder, water temperature, habits, etc..).

Different systems of water treatment can reduce the concentration of lead in tap water below the standard. For example, you can use a filter attached to the faucet. Whatever type of product, it is important to carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions for its installation, operation and maintenance, for example the frequency of filter changes.

It must also ensure that the product used has been tested and certified for the elimination of lead in water. The United States certification NSF has established protocols for doing this kind of verification. The NSF53 is the standard that allows you to check the efficiency of home treatment for the elimination of lead in water.

One can find information on the characteristics of the different products on the website of Health Canada.