Lead Levels Expected to Increase for Customers with Lead Service Pipes – Filters to be Provided

Drinking Water Report Released

Important Notice: pH Change to City’s Drinking Water

THUNDER BAY – The pH of the drinking water of the City of Thunder Bay is changing as the City will phase out the addition of sodium hydroxide.

As a result of regulatory changes in Ontario, the City was mandated to implement a corrosion control plan to reduce lead levels at the tap. Sodium hydroxide was added to the City’s drinking water, in 2016, as part of a pilot study, as approved by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).

In 2018, sodium hydroxide was introduced city wide as a corrosion inhibitor to reduce lead levels at the tap for customers with lead service pipes or internal lead plumbing. Although the use of sodium hydroxide is effective at reducing lead levels, increased reports of pinhole leaks in pipes have been received which require further review.

The City is working closely with the MECP and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit on this change to the drinking water and evaluating other means of corrosion control that may be implemented in the future.

All customers should routinely flush their pipes prior to consumption to maintain water quality at the tap. This can be accomplished by taking a shower, flushing the toilet, doing a load of laundry, or running your cold water tap to clear the pipes.

Drinking water filters will be available to all customers with lead service pipes.

“In the coming weeks, customers with lead service pipes will receive additional information on this change and will be provided with a drinking water filter for one year at no charge,” said Michelle Warywoda, Director – Environment Division. “It is important customers use the filter provided as lead found in drinking water can pose significant health risks. This is especially important for homes with children under the age of 6, pregnant women, or women planning a pregnancy.”

For more information on the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 and requirements for municipalities to implement a corrosion control plan, see Ontario Regulation 170/03 (Drinking Water Systems): https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/030170.

For more information on the changes and to learn more about lead in drinking water, visit: www.thunderbay.ca/drinkingwater or contact the Infrastructure & Operations Dispatch at 625-2195.