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Winnipeg releases results from lead water quality testing program


January 2, 2020
By Ground Water Canada

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Winnipeg – The City of Winnipeg has released results from its 2019 lead water quality testing program.

The testing program launched in August, following the introduction of new national guidelines for lead in drinking water.

“There is no detectable lead in our source water at Shoal Lake, and orthophosphate, a food-grade phosphoric acid, is added during the treatment process to prevent lead from entering the water through pipe corrosion,” the City said in a news release. “However, residents who have lead pipes or lead in other parts of their plumbing may have increased levels of lead in their water if the water sits in the pipes.”

In 2019 Winnipeg collected and tested water samples from 268 residences. Four water samples were collected from each home: a random daytime water sample (no flushing), and samples after flushing the plumbing system for one minute, two minutes, and five minutes. The results of the water quality testing program showed:

  • Fifty-four (20 percent) of the random daytime water samples (no flushing) had lead levels above the national guideline.
  • Thirty-one (12 percent) of the samples collected after one minute of flushing had lead levels above the national guideline.
  • Five (two percent) of the samples collected after two minutes of flushing had lead levels above the national guideline.
  • One sample (0.4 percent) collected after five minutes of flushing had lead levels above the national guideline.

The City is encouraging residents who have lead water pipes to flush their plumbing systems before consuming water, as results from the testing program show that flushing pipes lowers lead levels in drinking water.

Full results from the 2019 lead water quality testing program can be found here.

Residents who are on the waiting list to have their water tested will receive a letter with more information about future rounds of the lead water quality testing program. The next round of testing is expected to begin in spring 2020.

For more information on Winnipeg’s lead control programs, visit winnipeg.ca/leadprogram.