In order to ensure safe, lead free drinking water, the City of Saskatoon (City) is replacing all lead service lines.
Water service lines are the pipes that connect buildings, like houses, to the water main in the street. The portion of the water service line between the property line and the building is the responsibility of the property owner, while the portion between the water main and the property line is owned by the City.
Water service lines were typically made of lead between the early 1900s and early 1950s and can still be found in older neighbourhoods in Saskatoon.
Prior to 2010, when the City was replacing lead service lines, property owners were given the option of replacing the portion from the property line to their house. Many owners chose to replace the private side of the lead service lines when the City's portion was replaced, but some did not.
Today, about 256 properties have lead material on the private side of the service lines but the City side is not lead. These are referred to as "private side only" lead service lines.
In 2010, City Council made it mandatory for the entire lead service line to be replaced anytime one is cut into for repair or replacement. In 2016, City Council approved a strategy to replace all lead service lines in the City by the end of 2026.
When a lead service line is replaced from the water main to the house (referred to as a full lead line replacement), the City obtains a price for the replacement from the contractor. The price is then shared by the City and the property owner, with the City paying 60% and the property owner paying 40%, up to a maximum of $3,250. The 60% represents the City's portion of the service line and the 40% represents the property owner's portion. Although the full replacement cost is shared between the City and the property owner, the property owner is still fully responsible for the cost of the replacement on their property.
When a full service line replacement is done, the property owner can pay the contractor directly for their portion of the replacement, or they can have the City pay the contractor and have the costs added to their property taxes. This is referred to as the tax deferral option, and can be done over 1, 3, or 5 years.
You can read more on lead water pipes at saskatoon.ca/lead.
There is currently no program in place for the replacement of private side only lead lines. Since the City side is already a non-lead material, any work taking place within the City right-of-way does not require the replacement of the lead line on private property. To achieve the City's goal of replacing all lead service lines by the end of 2026, a strategy is needed for the replacement of private side only lead lines.
City Council will consider four options for replacing private side only lead service lines.
- Require property owners to replace private side only lead service lines at their own expense, with the costs eligible to be deferred to their property taxes.
- Require property owners to replace private side only lead service lines at their own expense, with no eligibility to defer payments to their property taxes.
- Require property owners to replace private side only lead service lines with costs shared between the owner (40%) and the City (60%).
- No requirement for property owners to replace private side only lead service lines.
These options are described in greater detail in the online survey. Please see the Engage tab.