Volunteers needed for water testing

May 6, 2021

Volunteers needed for water testing

Strathcona County is asking for volunteers to have a water sample collected from their homes for lead testing. Testing water for lead ‘at the tap’ is a new municipal requirement and supports Health Canada’s lead reduction strategy.

“The water within Strathcona County’s distribution system is safe, clean, and meets the updated Health Canada guidelines,” says Jason Casault, director of Utilities. “However, household plumbing materials can cause lead levels measured at the tap to exceed the Health Canada guidelines.”

Health Canada announced new guidelines in 2019 for drinking water quality in Canada, lowering the maximum acceptable concentration for lead in drinking water to further protect public health.

The most common sources of lead in drinking water are from household plumbing (at the tap), including old solder and brass plumbing fixtures.

“While your drinking water hasn’t changed, the guideline has. It’s intended to minimize public health risk,” says Casault. “Therefore, Health Canada guidelines requires Strathcona County to test a representative sample of water customers’ drinking water at the tap.”

Residents who receive their water from Strathcona County Utilities can sign up throughout May:

  • If selected, residents will be contacted for an appointment to collect the water sample. Most appointments will occur in August and September.
  • Sample results are shared with the homeowner within 14 days of their receipt from the lab.
  • Depending on how many people volunteer the County may not be able to test everyone. Those not selected will be notified as well.

Health Canada’s guidelines are intended to apply to average concentrations in water consumed for extended periods of time—decades. Lead in drinking water at the levels in your household plumbing is not an acute or immediate health risk; however, left unaddressed, longer-term exposure to lead in drinking water above the new guideline can have adverse health effects.

Public health measures will be followed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Strathcona County has practices in place to protect homeowners and staff including a questionnaire to ensure that homeowners and staff are healthy prior to the appointment occurring. Staff wear masks while in the homeowner’s residence and sanitize their hands and equipment frequently.

Find out more and sign up: strathcona.ca/WaterSample


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Contact: Strathcona County Communications, 780-410-6595