How to Replace a Lead Service Line

The best method to reduce exposure to lead is to remove sources of the lead

Replacing lead pipes is the first step in removing lead from your drinking water and we would encourage you to consider replacing lead pipes and any associated plumbing fittings (including solder joints or valves) that may contain lead.

While you are responsible for all of the pipework on your property and for the pipe work between your property and the boundary of the street the main is in, we have laid out a step-by-step process to replace your lead pipe with information on what to do once the replacement is complete.

How to Replace Your Lead Pipes

Steps to Replace Your Lead Service Line

Step 1: Find a Contractor

If you are ready to have the private portion of your lead service line replaced, you can hire any qualified contractor to do the work.  If the public (Halifax Water) portion has not been replaced, you can hire one of the following contractors to do both portions at the same time:

  • C.R. Falkenham Backhoe Services Ltd.: 902-456-0277
  • G&R Kelly: 902-835-3125
  • Sackville Trenching: 902-865-8335

The contractors listed above are the only permitted contractors to replace the public portion of a service line.  You may choose to use another qualified contractor to complete your private lead service line replacement.  If you choose to use a contractor other than those listed above, and the public portion of the service line is composed of lead, Halifax Water will replace the public portion of the service line following your private replacement.  Halifax Water always recommends getting multiple quotes from contractors to ensure you are having the work done at a reasonable cost.

Step 2: Submit Lateral Loan Application

If you are applying for The Lateral Loan, please submit your application along with a quote from your contractor before obtaining a permit.

Step 3: Obtain a Permit

Regardless of which contractor you choose to facilitate your private lead service line replacement (renewal), you are required to fill out and submit a New Services and Renewal Application [PDF] to Halifax Water.

Ensuring you have the proper applications and permits in place helps protect you and your property, and is required for all service line replacements (renewals) or other work begin done to your service line on your property.

Step 4: Schedule an Inspection

All service line replacements must be inspected and approved by Halifax Water.  Inspection for lead service line replacements are free of charge.

Inspections must be completed prior to covering the new line (backfilling).  To avoid delays, it is recommended that you contact Halifax Water at 902-420-9287 once you have confirmed the date of the service line replacement (renewal) with your contractor.

Step 5: Apply for the Lead Line Rebate

Once your service line has been replaced and has passed inspection you will be eligible for the Lead Line Rebate.  Please visit the Lead Line Rebate page for more information on this program and how to apply.

Step 6: Minimize Lead Exposure Following a Lead Service Line Replacement

Halifax Water recommends households adhere to the timelines and flushing instructions below to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water following a lead service line replacement.

Minimize Lead Exposure Following a Lead Service Line Replacement

Halifax Water recommends households adhere to the following timeline and flushing instructions to help reduce exposure to lead in drinking water following a lead service line replacement:

Immediately After Construction

Flush your plumbing system for 60-minutes by opening your cold water taps and letting them run, one at a time. Start in the basement and work up towards the top level in your home. The average cost of flushing a home using this method will be less than $2.00.

Remove and clean aerators and any faucet attachments (such as filters) from any taps your are flushing before you start the flushing process. This will help remove any lead particles or sediment dislodged during construction. An aerator is the small attachment found at the end of most taps, they help to increase water pressure at the tap while also helping to conserve water. Aerators can generally be removed by gently twisting counterclockwise. If you have a faucet with an extendable nozzle and hose ensure the hose is fully extended before and during the flush to prevent lead particles from getting trapped by creases in the hose.

Do not open hot water faucets until the plumbing system is completely flushed.

For 30 Days After Construction

Each day, flush your plumbing by removing and cleaning the aerator or any faucet attachments (such as filters) and opening at least one cold water faucet for 10-minutes.  Flushing can also be achieved by running appliances such as your washing machine, flushing toilets, or water gardens.  If you choose to flush this way you should also flush the tap you use for drinking and cooking for a few minutes prior to use.  Water used for this amount of flushing will cost around $0.08.

Use cold tap water for cooking and drinking.  Hot tap water can cause a greater release of lead from plumbing.  Boiling water does not remove lead.

If water has not been used for more than six hours (i.e. overnight or during work hours), flush the cold water tap after removing the aerator or any faucet attachments (such as filters) for five minutes prior to drinking and cooking.

Periodically remove and clean all faucet aerators/screens as lead particles and sediment can build up in the screen.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have children under the age of six, it is recommended that you use a household water filter that is certified to remove lead from drinking water at the tap. Please ensure the filtration device is certified to NSF 53 International Standards for drinking water and is also certified for the removal of lead.  The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) maintains a comprehensive list of NSF 53 certified products.

For 6 Months After Construction

Use cold tap water for cooking and drinking. Hot tap water can cause a greater release of lead from plumbing. Boiling water does not remove lead.

If water has not been used for more than six hours (i.e., overnight or during work hours), flush the cold water tap after removing the aerator or any faucet attachments (such as filters) for five minutes prior to drinking and cooking.

Periodically remove and clean all faucet aerators/screens as lead particles and sediment can build up in the screen.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or have children under the age of six, it is recommended that you use a household water filter that is certified to remove lead from drinking water at the tap. Please ensure the filtration device is certified to NSF 53 international standards for drinking water and is also certified for the removal of lead. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) maintains a comprehensive list of NSF 53 certified products.

Lead Replacement Assistance Programs

With two new assistance programs available with funding components, we hope more people can take advantage of our lead programs and get the lead out of homes in the municipality.