Halifax Water has several lead sampling and monitoring programs available to residential customers who qualify. If you would like to participate in any of the following programs, or if you have questions, please call our Customer Care Centre at 902-420-9287.
Halifax Water also has a corrosion control program that involves treating water at the water supply plants so that lead corrosion is minimized. There are monitoring and research programs in place to monitor the effectiveness of, and to continually improve, the corrosion control program.
On August 27, 2020, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) approved Halifax Water’s enhanced lead service line replacement program. The enhanced program will see Halifax Water replace the full lead service line, which includes both the public and the private section of the service line at utility’s expense.
Halifax Water provides complimentary lead testing for homeowners who have a known or suspected lead service line, and who live in a house built prior to 1960 within the lead service boundary.
If you are interested in having your water tested, please contact us to discuss eligibility and to arrange for a sampling kit to be dropped off, if eligible. The sampling is completed by the tenant/landlord/homeowner. The sample kit includes five one-liter sample bottles and sampling instructions. Samples are analyzed by a third party lab. Results will be sent to you once they are available. If you have any questions regarding your results, please contact us and we would be happy to help you interpret them.
After a lead service line replacement, you may see an increase in lead levels in your home for a period of time after construction. This is a result of pipes being disturbed during construction. The exact length of this disturbance varies from home to home based on multiple factors including household water usage, service line length, and flushing practices.
Typically the lead increase is highest in the days to weeks following the replacement, and then drops off in three to six months. The best way to know the lead levels in your home following a replacement is to participate in the monitoring program.
Anyone who has had a portion of, or their entire service line replaced, is encouraged to participate in this free comprehensive sampling program coordinated between Halifax Water and Dalhousie University. This program monitors lead levels prior to and after a lead service line replacement. Samples are taken prior to replacement and following replacement at 72 hours and at 1, 3, and 6 months.
If you are interested in participating in this program, contact Halifax Water several days prior to your replacement.
Halifax Water conducts an annual residential sampling program to monitor the effectiveness of the corrosion control program by sampling lead and copper levels in customers’ homes throughout the distribution system. Once per year, 100 homes are tested on a volunteer basis. Samples are collected during the warmest months, typically in August, and submitted to a third party lab for analysis. Each year we ask anyone interested in joining the program to contact us.
Halifax Water encourages customers who have participated in the past to continue their annual sampling efforts to aid Halifax Water in developing a comprehensive data set. If your home is supplied by Halifax Water you may be eligible to participate in the sampling program. Due to the nature of this program, we can only facilitate testing in single unit dwellings or in duplexes serviced by their own service lateral. If you are interested in participating in this program, contact us to find out if you are eligible.
Corrosion of lead and other metals occurs from the reaction of water with metal surfaces of the pipes in the water distribution network. Halifax Water uses zinc-orthophosphate as a corrosion inhibitor to minimize the corrosion of lead and other metals in the distribution network. Inhibitors work by producing a protective layer over pipes throughout the water distribution network, which prevents the water from attacking the metal surface.
Corrosion inhibitors are added at the treatment plant and must meet American Water Works Association standards and National Sanitation Foundation/ American National Standards Institute Standard 60, which is a standard for additives to drinking water. Halifax Water monitors the corrosion inhibitor concentration in the treated water leaving the treatment plants on a daily basis to ensure that the target levels of the inhibitor are being achieved at all times. In addition, corrosion inhibitor concentrations and other relevant water quality parameters are measured throughout the water distribution network monthly to ensure effectiveness of corrosion control treatment.
Halifax Water is constantly reviewing new corrosion science and studying the effectiveness of the corrosion inhibitor through a research partnership with Dalhousie University and other industry experts.
These partnerships have provided a better understanding of lead release in Halifax, has informed changes to Halifax Water’s corrosion control practices; and has kept Halifax Water at the forefront of the water industry with respect to managing lead in the distribution system.