Homes built prior to 1975 were more likely to contain lead products during construction. Lead-based solder continued to be used for plumbing until the mid-80s. Cochrane’s water distribution system was developed in the 1950s and 60s, when the most common material used was copper. Before that, most existing homes were on private wells; when they were tied into the Town’s water infrastructure, it was with copper pipes.
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Due to Health Canada’s recent decision to lower the Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) of lead in water from 0.010 mg/L to 0.005 mg/L, municipalities in Canada are required to test local water for the presence of lead.
60 Cochrane residences will be selected randomly with a focus on those built before 1975. Homeowners will be contacted directly and invited to participate.
Absolutely. The Town’s water quality testing – posted to cochrane.ca/WaterQuality – confirms that lead levels in our water supply are at 0.00005 mg/L, well below Health Canada’s maximum acceptable limit of 0.005 mg/L. Over the years, as the Town has inspected and replaced pipes, no lead pipes have been found.
Lead can get in water from watermains, service lines and household plumbing parts that contain lead (e.g., pipes, solder, fixtures). The most common source of lead is from lead pipes used to deliver water to homes built before 1960. These pipes were phased out in the late 1950s. Older homes (generally ones built before 1960) are more likely to have lead parts.
You can purchase a water filter from a home improvement store or online, look for one that is NSF 53 Certified for lead reduction. Attach the filter to the tap used for drinking and cooking water. If you have no filter and you have lead concerns you can flush the water from the tap for 5 minutes prior to using water for drinking or cooking, if the water has been sitting in the piping for 6 hours or longer. Use only cold water for drinking and cooking. You can also have your water tested independently through an accredited laboratory. The cost for this testing is the responsibility of the homeowner.