Lead Water Pipes
Saskatoon has one of the safest water supplies in North America. Regular test results show lead level content in our drinking water supply is 100 times lower than the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency limit.
Does my property have lead pipes?
The vast majority of Saskatoon neighbourhoods do not have lead pipe connections. However, before 1950, water pipes were made with lead, which is when some older Saskatoon neighbourhoods were developed. Testing has found that when drinking water sits unused in lead pipes, lead levels are likely to be higher than recommended. Each fall or winter, Saskatoon Water mails information to reduce lead in their drinking water to all properties with lead pipes. If you aren't sure about your property, check the map of areas where lead pipes are known, or contact our Customer Care Centre.
Reducing Your Exposure to Lead
Run your tap before you drink the water
Install a certified water filter
To reduce lead exposure as much as possible, especially for children under six and pregnant women, you may consider drinking water from an alternate source. Alternatively you may attach a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified filter to a drinking water faucet, or use a certified filtered water pitcher. On the packaging, look for a stamp indicating “NSF-053” and a statement that indicates the filter is certified for lead removal, as some models can vary. These filters can reduce up to 99% of lead in water. Replace filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove and clean your tap screen
Most household taps have an aerating screen attached to the end. Calcium carbonate can build up on the screen and absorb lead. Make it a habit to remove the screen and clean off any build up every month.
Replacing Lead Pipes
The City is aggressively replacing lead pipes used for water service lines by January 1, 2027, as the only sure way to remove any trace of lead in water. The work is being done in conjunction with necessary water main and road upgrades and will be in contact with property owners when your area is scheduled. From 2017 to the end of 2022 approximately 2,925 lead service lines were replaced. Approximately 1,657 lead service lines are remaining.
Modernize the plumbing system in your home
The most effective way to reduce lead levels in drinking water is to remove all lead sources from your plumbing system. Consider replacing pipes containing older lead solder, and brass fittings with materials certified for contact with drinking water. A licensed plumber can determine if your home has a lead service connection, and whether the home contains lead solder, lead pipes or lead pipe fittings.
For more information on the risks of lead in drinking water visit:
- Health Canada - Reduce your exposure to lead
- Saskatoon Health Region at www.saskatoonhealthregion.ca or call 306-655-4620
- National Sanitation Foundation at www.nsf.org and search “LEAD”