THUNDER BAY – City Council approved an interest-free loan program last night that will allow property owners to borrow funds from the city to assist in the replacement of privately owned lead water service pipes.
Lead enters the water when it sits still for long periods of time in lead pipes or fixtures. Residents should routinely flush their pipes before consumption to maintain water quality at the tap. Lead pipes were used before the mid-1950’s to connect your home’s plumbing to the City’s water main. Lead can pose a significant risk to your health if too much enters your body. The greatest risk is to children under the age of six and pregnant women.
“This program provides financial assistance to homeowners to reduce lead levels in drinking water at their tap,” said Michelle Warywoda, Director of the Environment Division. “Loans for up to $3,000 of eligible costs are available, for five years, or 10 years for property owners that qualify under the Tax and Credit Program for Low-Income Seniors and Low-Income Persons with Disabilities or the Tax and Water Credit Program for Low-Income Persons.”
Eligible costs includes Contractor’s labour for connection, excavation and backfilling, equipment charges, materials/supplies, and building permit fee.
The City encourages property owners to consider replacing the privately-owned portion of their lead service pipe to reduce their exposure. The best way to reduce lead in drinking water at the tap is to replace all lead piping. Each year, the City replaces publicly-owned lead service pipes through capital infrastructure projects, emergency repairs, and through the Priority Lead Replacement Program.
The water produced by the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant does not contain lead nor does the water in the City’s distribution system. Maintaining a safe and sustainable water supply is a top priority for the City’s Water Authority. Loan approvals will be subject to the availability of funding and priority given on a first come first serve basis.
For more information, call 684-2433 or visit: www.thunderbay.ca/leadpipes