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Lead Water Pipes?

London, Ontario Area

Some households in London Ontario test higher for lead in their drinking water than others. Where this occurs, it is commonly due to older pipes in older portions of the city where service connections from the street to the house are made of lead.

Lead connections were common in homes connected to the water supply before 1952.

Where is lead most commonly found?

Lead is present almost everywhere in nature and has been used in consumer products over the years.

Today, lead is found in food, air, water, old paint, soil and dust. Lead can be taken in by the body when ingested or inhaled. Amounts taken in can vary from person to person depending on the form the lead is in and the person’s metabolism. 

Am I in danger?

There have been very few reported cases of lead poisoning in Canada. Lead exposure has been reduced over the last 40 years with the elimination of lead used in food cans, gasoline, paint, solder and lead service connections.

At the concentrations of lead in the environment today, exposure to lead is of a chronic nature and takes a considerable amount of time, particularly in adults.

Who is most at risk?

Because of the smaller mass and higher metabolism of children under six years of age (including infants and the fetuses of pregnant women), these populations are most at risk. Lead from water may account for up to 10% of the lead blood level in children, recognizing the major sources of lead are still non- water related.

How does City of London water rate?

The City of London's drinking water system supplies excellent water which well within the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Standards. Tested annually, the City's distribution system lead levels are very low - generally less than 1 microgram per litre. This is significantly lower than the Ministry of the Environment standard of 10 micrograms per litre.

Why would some households test higher for lead in their drinking water?

Lead levels above one microgram per litre may occur at the customers tap if the service connection from the street to the house is made of lead, or if lead solder was used in the house plumbing system of inferior quality brass valves or copper pipe have been used.

Where can I get more information about lead and what the City is doing?

Information is available online on the City website including a map showing possible areas of the City where this issue may occur. Refer to:

How can I tell if I have a lead service connection?

Lead service connections were often used in London prior to 1952. To check for yourself, locate your water meter, typically found in the basement, and look at the pipe coming up through the basement floor into the bottom of the water meter. Lead is grey, does not echo if you gently strike it, scratches easily and leaves metallic marks when you rub the scratched area against paper.

Can I have my water tested for lead levels?

The City will test water in homes located in areas suspected to have lead service connections. If you are concerned about the lead levels in your drinking water, please contact the Water Quality Customer Service line at 519-661-4739 during business hours to arrange for samples to be taken.

Can I have my service connection replaced?

Your service connection can be replaced as identified in the Water By-law. The homeowner is responsible to replace their portion of the lead service connection into the house and the City will replace the public portion at no cost to the homeowner. Please contact the Water Quality Customer Service line at 519-661-4739 during business hours to have a Water Operations employee inspect your property to determine if you are eligible under this program.

For more information, please contact Water Quality Customer Service at 519-661-4739.

Other information is available online at the Health Canada website:

Some Commonly Asked Questions About Lead and Human Health
Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

The Middlesex-London Health Unit website:Drinking Water

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment website:
Technical Support Document for Ontario Drinking Water Standards, Objectives and Guidelines 

519-471-8888    London, ON
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