3 Vancouver homes found with elevated levels of lead in water

Mercedes Leyh / November 6, 2019

In a nationwide investigation high lead levels have been found in water across the country.

Lead levels that exceed federal guidelines was detected in three out of 15 Vancouver homes that recently had their water tested.

This is in light of a nationwide investigation that has found high lead levels in water across the country, including Prince Rupert, BC.

84% of 25 homes tested in Prince Rupert exceeded Health Canada’s guidelines for lead levels.

Interim Chief Executive of the BC Water & Waste Association, Marian Hands said that water that leaves a treatment plant is generally lead free. However, the journey down the water main to the home is where problems can arise.

“That is where the largest area of concern is, as well as in the plumbing in homes, where up to 1975 they allowed lead plumbing. It is perfectly fine unless there is an alkalinity in the water that will cause leaching from the pipes.”  -Marian Hands, BC Water & Waste Association 

Most communities have high levels of PH control measures to ensure they keep the alkalinity in a good place. However, according to Hands it is not always the community that is the problem.

“It has more to do with the age of the homes than the communities themselves.” -Marian Hands, BC Water & Waste Association

Hands goes on to say that older homes that have not undergone renovations may be more at risk of tainted water. According to Hands, water that has lead in it will not look any different. That is why Hands suggests a few tips for homeowners who may be concerned.

  • Running water for 10 minutes washes away any water that has been sitting in the pipes.
  • Older homes can get a CSA or SS approved home filter system.
  • Different communities also have testing programs already in place.

“The key message is that this has been an ongoing concern for water purveyors to ensure that the pipes are lead free” -Marian Hands, BC Water & Waste Association

Anyone concerned can ask their community or a health authority about water testing.

Infographic summarizing lead poisoning.
(Taya Fast/BCIT News)