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Quebec getting the lead out

Quebec will be the first province to comply with Health Canada's new recommendations for reducing acceptable lead concentrations in drinking water.


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October 25, 2019

The Government of Quebec has announced that it will comply with new Health Canada guidelines regarding the standard of concentration and sampling procedures for lead in drinking water.

In March of this year Health Canada set the new guideline for the maximum acceptable lead concentration in water from 10 micrograms per liter (μg / L) to 5 μg / L. By announcing a new regulatory amendment, Québec will become the first province to comply with the proposed guideline.

In addition, the government is also asking municipalities across the province to develop an action plan to reduce the presence of lead in drinking water, following Health Canada’s recommendations.

In its action plan, each municipality will:

  • identify areas of the municipality whose homes are likely to have a lead service entrance;
  • determine a timetable for identifying said sectors;
  • estimate the time needed to replace all lead service entries in its territory;
  • evaluate the cost of the process;
  • determine a prioritization of the work.

Montreal has already created an interactive map identifying likely areas where lead service entries exist.

The City has announced it will draft a bylaw requiring homeowners to replace lead pipes leading to their homes, otherwise the City will do the work and bill the homeowner. Residents will then have to pay a lump sum to the City or through instalments extending up to 15 years.


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