Lead in Drinking Water

St. Albert’s drinking water is safe and clean. The City has completed prior inspections of many homes built before 1960 and there were not any lead services found. The City also conducted precautionary water sampling in 2021 that demonstrated compliance with Health Canada’s guidelines.   

Why Do We Test for Lead in Drinking Water?

The City of St. Albert – along with all Canadian municipalities – is mandated by Health Canada to adhere to stricter lead limits in municipal drinking water.

The likelihood of lead service lines existing in our city is extremely low. Many neighbourhoods in St. Albert were built after 1960 when lead was generally no longer used in service lines. St. Albert performed inspections for lead services and testing for lead in drinking water in 70 per cent of the homes built before 1960, in 2008 and did not find any lead service lines.

Lead in Drinking Water

Lead is a neurotoxin that can leach from plumbing fixtures into the tap water supply and has been linked to a variety of health risks. Sometimes, household plumbing fixtures or pipes can contain lead. This was particularly common with older construction materials. When water sits in contact with lead material for an extended period of time (e.g. overnight), the lead can leach into and accumulate in the water.

Lead may be present in:

  • Water service lines (unlikely to exist in St. Albert)
  • Household plumbing (responsibility of the property owner)
    • Older fixtures and faucets 
    • Internal water pipes 
    • Solder that connects pipes 

Steps to reduce any potential lead in drinking water :

  • Use a point-of-use filter designed to reduce lead in water (e.g. Brita)
  • Flush your water by running the kitchen tap for several minutes.
  • Avoid using the hot water tap for consumption, as higher temperatures can accelerate the leaching process in pipes that may contain lead. Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
  • Remove and replace identified lead sources with lead-free fixtures, faucets, and pipes.
  • Install faucet mounts or filtered faucets plumbed into separate taps, kitchen sink, or countertop. 

Residents can check water service lines by using EPCOR’s 3-Step Testing Process.

Upcoming Changes to Drinking Water

EPCOR is the City of St. Albert’s water provider which includes our community’s water supply. 

On March 20, 2023, EPCOR will add orthophosphate to its water treatment process to protect customers from lead in drinking water and water pipe corrosion. While there isn’t lead in the water when it leaves the treatment plant, lead can release into the drinking water through lead pipes and other household plumbing fixtures. 

Orthophosphate is tasteless, odourless and safe. Phosphate is naturally found in foods like bread, cheese, fruits and nuts. It’s also a common additive in beverages.

To learn more, visit epcor.com/ortho or email orthophosphate@epcor.com

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Last edited: March 17, 2023