Monitoring Lead in Red Deer’s Water

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in rock and soil, and extensive man-made use has resulted in its widespread presence in the environment including pipes and plumbing material. Metal water pipes eventually corrode and may cause copper, lead or iron to leach into the water supply. Health Canada has identified lead as the main contaminate of concern as it can cause health issues.
Water Service Lines Graphic

View larger image (pdf)

What is lead?

Lead is a bluish-grey soft malleable metal that is found in small amounts on earth’s outer layer. Since lead is highly resistant to corrosion and very malleable, it is used in the construction of piping to transport corrosive liquids, in building construction, lead-acid batteries, bullets and shot, weights, and is part of solder, pewter, fusible alloys and radiation shields.

Where is lead most commonly found?

Lead is present almost everywhere in nature. It can be found in air, soil, dust, drinking water, food and various consumer products. Lead can be taken into the body through ingestion and/or inhalation and extensive man-made use has resulted in its widespread presence in the environment.

What is a lead service line?Various types of pipes including brass, copper poly and lead (JPG)

Lead services lines are pipes made out of lead that connect the City owned water main to your home. In homes constructed before 1960, building codes allowed the use of lead for water pipes, as well as plumbing materials such as solder and brass fittings with high lead content. These are the primary sources of lead contamination in drinking water.

What is being done?

The Water Treatment Plant uses a caustic soda treatment to balance the pH of drinking water and reduce water corrosivity. This process provides a protective coating on the pipes, minimizing lead leaching. You can also have your tap water tested for lead.

Am I affected?

The City has been actively contacting and working with residents to check the material of water service lines and to monitor lead levels in drinking water. If your home was built before 1960 and you have questions, contact Environmental Services at 403-342-8750.

Want more information?