Lead Pipes

Lead service connections (lines) were installed in drinking water systems in many countries, including Canada. Widespread installation of lead service lines occurred in Quebec until 1970. The installation of lead pipes was prohibited in Quebec in 1980 by the Construction Code.  Lead is now recognized as a contaminant, and it is essential to reduce the exposition in our environment.

However, the majority of the Town of Hampstead was built before 1970. Today, the Quebec Governement is asking for the complete replacement of these pipes. The Town of Hampstead wishes to act as a facilitator in this request.

To take an appointment with a technicien of approximately 45 mintes, please visit the booking portal.

Drinking water in Québec is generally of excellent quality. However, despite all measures in place to monitor its quality, drinking water can sometimes be contaminated to varying degrees. The concentration of lead in drinking water is generally very low and there are few health risks. However, the effects of lead can have impacts. They depend on the frequency and length of exposure as well as the lead concentration in water. 

In Québec, lead gets into drinking water mainly as a result of dissolution of lead from pipes, especially connection piping (service line) between some houses and the municipal distribution system. The service line has a small diameter (usually less than two inches) that links the building to the water main underneath the street. It is usually made of lead or copper and is composed of two sections: One which belongs to the city and the other which belongs to the building owner (from the inside of the building to the property line). Both sections may be made of lead, but it’s also possible that the section which belongs to the property owner is made of lead while the city’s section isn’t, and vice versa.

The Town of Hampstead performs maintenance on their water network regularly and samples water to be tested for contaminants. The health of citizens is a priority. By-Laws Number 1031

 

 

Two filtration plants (Atwater & Charles J. Des Baillets) supply the water network for our territory within the island of Montreal. The plants continuously test the water to insure it is safe. The water then leaves the filtration plant and enters the water mains of the distribution system to get to our Town water network. The water network is made of cast iron and PCV. There are little to no traces of lead in the water. 

The data shows that the connections to the Town network and the pipes of the service entrances installed before 1970 may be in lead. It is when the water leaves the City pipes to go to a residence that we may find a higher concentration of lead.

The Town of Hampstead wishes to help its citizens to comply to the standards requested by the Quebec’s Governement; hence, certain measures to resolve these cases are institating.

The Town adopts the Action Plan to ensure everyone can comply to the standards set by the Quebec government.

Phase 1: Inventory of the districts to prioritize

As most of Hampstead was built before 1970, a plan will be put in place for how the collection of the water samples for testing will be taken. Residents affected by the situation will receive a letter with the necessary information.

Phase 2: Water testing

The Town will grant a contract to a company, who will take water samples for testing. The objective is to verify for exposure to lead. Compliance monitoring will be conducted at the resident’s tap, with the aim to indentify the properties with the highest lead concentrations. As monitoring of lead at the tap can be done using different sampling protocols, it is important that the selected protocol be appropriate to meet the desired objective.

Protocol: How will the water sample be collected?

The most utilized tap (often the kitchen) in the house needs to be turned on for five minutes. It then must be turned off for 30 minutes. During this period, the tap can’t be used. After this wait, the water sample can be collected. 

Phase 3: Inventory, planning of the service entrances and the targeted pipes

Once the analysis is completed, the results will indicate if lead is present in the water. This may required pipe and connection replacements.

Who is responsible for replacing water service pipes?

The responsibility is shared between the Town and the homeowners. The public section is replaced at the Town’s expense. The private section is replaced at the owner’s expense. The service line consists of 2 parts: a public section managed by the Town and a private section managed by the owners.

Phase 4: Feedback

The citizens will be kept informed if the Town will carry out work on municipal pipe connections. The Town will advise residents of the work needed to be done on the pipes in their homes. In addition, a report will be available online so that everyone can have access to the information.

Low or no Lead ConcentrationNo measure.
Low Exceeding Lead Concentration Interventions can be made to locate and replace problematic plumbing fixtures and, actions to be taken to reduce the exposure to lead.
Low Exceeding Lead Concentration but where the pH should be correctedInterventions can be made to locate and replace problematic plumbing fixtures, modify the pH and other actions to be taken to reduce the exposure to lead.
Relatively High ConcentrationThe resident should look into replacing completely the problematic plumbing fixtures, modify the pH and actions to be taken to reduce the exposure to lead.

Please be advised that a follow-up will be made when a high lead concentration situation is identified.

When necessary, the Town will issue a notice to ensure the safety of its citizens. Examples are: Boil-water advisory, Water Interruption service, Do-not-consume advisory, Do-not use advisory.

To reduce exposure to lead and minimize your risk, here are the recommendations from Public Health Quebec:

  • Use a water filter pitcher, a tap filter or a pipe filter under your sink. These devices must be certified for lead reduction in accordance with NSF/ANSI standard 53, and the manufacturer’s installation and maintenance instructions must be followed carefully.
  • To flush water that has stagnated in the service line, run the tap for a few minutes once the water is cold (cool in summer) before drinking it, especially if it has been sitting in the pipes for many hours (in the morning and when you get home from work).
  • When preparing food, infant formula and drinks, use only cold tap water. Hot water tends to contain more lead.
  • Remove and clean the aerator (small filter) in the spout of the tap regularly because lead can build up in it.

Boiling water will not remove lead because lead does not evaporate. It can even increase the lead concentration in the water.

For further information, here are links that can help you:

The timeline of the events

June 2022Contact (Letter) – Phase 1
July to October 2022Phase 2
Fall 2022 – Winter 2023Phase 3
Spring-Summer 2023Phase 4
Summer 2023Beggining of the works

Please note that this chart will be updated to reflect the accuracy of the situation*

I would like more information: