Providing clean water for residents to drink is a responsibilty taken seriously by the City of Wetaskiwin. The City is proactively working to reduce the number of lead water service pipes still in use in the community. Shutterstock

Drinking water safety a priority in Wetaskiwin

Lead water service pipe replacement program continues, City shoulders 60 per cent of cost

City of Wetaskiwin Tap Water Safe to Drink

You’ve likely heard about elevated levels of lead being detected in the drinking water of communities across Canada –including some in Alberta – as a result of lead leaching from aging infrastructure.

Tests conducted in August this year found the City of Wetaskiwin’s tap water to have extremely low lead levels – at 0.00018 mg/L, much lower than the current allowable limit of 0.005 mg/L. The City remains proactive both in prioritizing its lead pipe replacement program, as well as educating residents on what to do if they suspect they have a lead pipe water service.

A webpage has been set up providing information to anyone who may have concerns.

“The City of Wetaskiwin is committed to providing safe and clean drinking water for its citizens, and this webpage is a great way for residents to be informed about the quality of their drinking water so they can make decisions that are best for them personally,” said Sue Howard, Director of Municipal Services. “Our staff are always happy to answer any questions from the public and look forward to continuing to supply safe water to everyone.”

The ‘Safe Drinking Water’ webpage includes information on how to identify a lead water service, and steps to take if you suspect that you have lead pipes in your home. In general, homes built after 1950 are less likely to have lead pipe water service.

There is a simple way to check if this is the case for your property:

  • Locate your emergency water shut-off valve or water meter (usually in your basement).
  • Check the colour of the pipe coming out of the ground running into the meter.
  • If the pipe is the colour of a Canadian penny, it’s copper.
  • If it’s bright blue or black, it’s likely plastic tubing (polyethylene).
  • If it’s grey, it’s either galvanized iron or lead.

If you’re unsure if your property has a lead pipe water service, you’re encouraged to call the City of Wetaskiwin utilities department at 780-361-4453 to schedule a free water testing appointment.

Pipe replacements ongoing

Work continues under the City’s lead service replacement program, which has been ongoing since 2018. Through this program the City replaces its portion of known lead water service lines for up to 10 residences per year. Property owners must then cover the cost of the replacement from the cc valve (shut-off valve) to their tap, which works out to approximately 40 per cent of the total replacement cost.

Property owners with confirmed lead water service can choose to wait until their scheduled water service line replacement by the City, or have the work completed by a private contractor. The City of Wetaskiwin also has a deferral program in place to help homeowners pay for the cost of the replacement.

Under the replacement schedule, affected homes or buildings used by expectant mothers or children under age six are given priority as they are most susceptible to the possible health issues that accompany ingesting lead-tainted water. Find out more by visiting www.wetaskiwin.ca or follow the City of Wetaskiwin’s Facebook page.

 

A behind the scenes look at the City of Wetaskiwin’s UV disinfection equipment.

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