Lead Sampling

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Why is Niagara Falls Sampling Drinking Water for Lead?

Sink Faucet turned on

Beginning in July of 2007, the Ministry of the Environment made a series of changes to the current regulations regarding sampling and testing of lead in drinking water. These new changes require all municipalities to regularly sample and test private taps within homes and businesses for lead.

These testing requirements have put an emphasis on the testing of private plumbing, which could have the possibility of containing lead. Lead service lines or lead based solder are good examples of how lead was previously used in private plumbing.

The legislation has set out two sampling windows per year, December 15th to April 15th and June 15th to October 15th. Currently we are seeking volunteers for the June 15th to October 15th sampling window.

How is the Water Tested?

One of our qualified Staff members will come into your home or business between 8 am and 4 pm and take a sample from your kitchen tap or tap used most for drinking or cooking of water. The test itself takes approximately 35-40 minutes in total to complete. Two samples are taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

Can Everyone Participate?

Yes, everyone can participate in the sampling. However, there are certain homes and businesses that should be particularly interested in the program.

If your home was built prior to 1955:

You may have lead plumbing within your home. Lead was a commonly used pipe material up until the mid 1950’s.

If your home is thought to have lead soldering:

This could apply to a home built before 1990. In 1989, the Ontario Building Code was amended to ban lead piping, plumbing and fixtures containing more than 8 per cent lead. The same amendment also banned the use of solder or flux containing more than 0.2 per cent of lead.

How Do I Get the Results?

The City will notify you of the results once they are received from the laboratory.

Water Line Ownership Diagram

What if Lead is Found in Samples Taken From My Home or Business?

If lead is found in a sample taken from your home or business you can expect the following:

  • The City will notify you of the results.
  • The City will notify the Medical Officer of Health, as per Provincial legislation.
  • Any recommendations received from the Medical Officer of Health will be given to the property owner.
  • Any actions taken on private property to repair, replace, alter or change private plumbing are the property owner’s responsibility and at their expense.

If you have any additional questions or would like to participate in the Lead Sampling and Testing program please contact James Sticca, DWQMS Coordinator at 905-356-7521 ext 6520 or jsticca@niagarafalls.ca.