Safe drinking water is typically taken for granted by the majority of Hamilton residents.
But for residents in an estimated 20,000 Hamilton homes, it’s an ongoing concern. That’s because lead pipes are responsible for delivering tap water to these particular homes. Although the City of Hamilton has acknowledged the health dangers of consuming water from lead pipes, the system will take up to 40 years to replace them.
Here are four important facts to know about the toxic lead pipes found in certain Hamilton residences.
- Most Homes Built Before 1955 Feature Lead Water Pipes
Inspecting the material for the water pipe that comes into your home (or the water service line) will help you determine if your home has lead water pipes. A Check Size and Type Inspection is offered by the City to help determine what type of piping provides your home’s water service.
- Lead Has Negative Effects on Your Health
Although you cannot smell or taste the lead in drinking water, consuming it can cause serious health problems. Toxic to humans, chronic exposure to lead can cause nervous system and kidney damage, learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder. Infants and young children absorb lead more easily than adults. Pregnant women and women planning a pregnancy can pass lead built up in their blood and bones to their unborn baby.
- The City of Hamilton Has a Corrosion Control Program
The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) Safe Drinking Water Act requires a corrosion control plan to be put into place.Lead service replacement is offered to homeowners via a Lead Service Replacement Program and the Capital infrastructure replacement work. As the homeowner of private property, you’re responsible for the maintenance, repair and replacement of a portion of the water pipe. Once you’ve completed your water pipe upgrade, the City will replace the public section of the water service pipe.For water pipes on City property, Hamilton Water is authorized to complete the repair or replacement.For homeowners who cannot afford to replace the private-owned portion of their lead pipe, corrosion control can be provided with a phosphate-based inhibitor. This is also a potential solution for homeowners of newer homes that don’t have lead supply pipes but do have leaded-brass fixtures and lead solder within their internal plumbing.
- Orthophosphate Reduces Lead in Drinking Water
Following implementation in 2018, the City of Hamilton now uses orthophosphate to protect residents from the release of lead in drinking water. Deemed safe by the NSF, orthophosphate creates a protective barrier on plumbing surfaces that reduces the release of toxic metals from household plumbing.The protective barrier will take up to two years to form throughout the entire City’s water distribution system and linked plumbing services. Orthophosphate will not be used in certain rural communities that have safe communal well systems.