If your home was built before 1975, it may be one of 60 homes chosen in Cochrane to have water samples tested for lead.
It started with Health Canada changing the guidelines for the maximum lead levels in drinking water. From that, Alberta Environment and Parks implemented a sampling program that is required by all municipalities. Cochrane’s water is considered lead-free with 0.00005 mg per litre. Troy Sylvestre, Water/Wastewater Manager for the Town of Cochrane points out, “It’s a mandated thing, so it’s not something specific to Cochrane. And really it’s just a program for everyone to have a look at to see how possibly widespread the lead problem may be in Alberta.”
Sylvestre says that the town has done quite a bit of water main replacements in Cochrane and says, “We have yet to find any lead services.”
Also, Cochrane's water distribution system was built in the 1950s and 1960s when copper was the most common material used. Sylvestre adds, "We do water meters and water meter replacements and in all of our replacement programs, we haven't come upon any type of lead service within a home either."
However, the government wants municipalities to take testing a step further and check homes that were built prior to 1975 because it is possible that they would have used lead products during construction. Prior to 1960 building codes allowed the use of lead for water pipes and plumbing materials such as solder and brass fittings. Sylvestre says that they have chosen homes that were constructed before 1975, as those are the ones they will target because of the era in which they were built.
So, 60 homes will receive containers and instructions for collecting a water sample. The assessment program will begin in May and run through until September.
Sylvestre says if you are not chosen for the sampling program, but have concerns you can always have a test done by an approved lab to put your mind at ease. Just remember it is only necessary for homes built prior to 1975.
If you have an older home and would like to know more you can go to Cochrane.ca/WaterTesting.