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 book an appointment for a visual inspection with a member of the Town of Hampstead Public Works Aqueduc Team, please visit the booking portal.

Please be advised that as of July 2023, the Town of Hampstead with a certified laboratory will resume sampling for lead in drinking water. A letter and alert will be sent out beforehand.

Please also note that if you book an appointment when your home has already been sampled, it will be cancelled automatically. Contact the Communications Department for any requests for testing.

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: Locate the lead source

When a result shows traces of lead, obtain a certified lead abatement pitcher available at the Community Centre or City Hall. It is essential to re-test to locate the source of the lead. 

Phase 4: Inventory, planning of the service entrances and the targeted pipes

Once the analysis is completed, the results will indicate where the lead is coming from and what replacements are required. 

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 5: 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.

During winter, the Town provides visual inspections by a Public Works aqueduct team member to inspect the pipes inside the house. In the spring, excavations and replacements of lead inlets found during the summer of 2022 will resume. 

As of July 2023, the Town of Hampstead, with an accredited laboratory, will resume testing for lead in drinking water through 3 methods: an initial one-litre test to screen, a sequential multi-litre test to locate the source of the lead and a follow-up test 3 months after pipe replacements to ensure that the water is now safe. The new results will be compiled, allowing the ongoing assessment of priorities to carry out the necessary work to ensure the quality of the municipality’s water.

No Lead Concentration (>0.002)No measure.


Low Lead Concentration below applicable standard (0.0050.002)

Interventions should be made to locate and replace problematic plumbing fixtures, and actions to be taken to reduce the exposure to lead.
Relatively High Concentration; Exceeding applicable standard (<0.005)Interventions should be made to locate and replace problematic plumbing fixtures, and actions to be taken to reduce the exposure to lead.

Please be advised that a follow-up will be done as soon as a lead concentration is detected.

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 2022First Contact Letter 
July to October 2022Sampling for analysis of lead concentration in drinking water
Fall 2022 Excavations and replacement of lead pipes on the public portion of the service entrance
November 2022 to Spring 2023Visual inspection by a member of the Public Works Aqueduct team
Spring 2023Return of excavations and replacement of lead pipes on the public portion of the service entrance
Summer 2023Return of samples for analysis of lead concentration in drinking water

*Please note that several projects are underway simultaneously to make rapid progress and reduce contaminant exposure in the community.

This table will be updated to reflect the accuracy of the situation.*

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