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Water service lines deliver water to your tap by connecting the water main in the street or alley to your home's plumbing system. EPCOR owns the section of the service line from the water main to the property line ("utility service line"), and the property owner owns the section from the property line to the water meter in the home or building ("private service line"). This split ownership is common to most cities in North America.

Prior to 1960, copper was predominantly used for water service lines, but lead was one of the options homebuilders had available to them. Today, the preferred materials are copper and certain polyethylene pipes. Less than two per cent of utility service lines to homes and small businesses in Edmonton, most of which were built before 1960, are still lead.

When drinking water leaves our treatment plants, it contains no measurable level of lead. Lead at the tap comes mainly from lead service lines, but private plumbing components can also contribute, potentially increasing the concentration of lead above Health Canada's drinking water maximum acceptable concentrations.

EPCOR's lead service pipe replacement program

 

We started our Lead Service Pipe Replacement Program to ensure that homes receiving water through a lead service line receive good quality water. Since proactively launching our program in 2008, the number of lead utility service lines in Edmonton continues to decrease each year.

As part of our Lead Service Pipe Replacement Program, we:

  • Send annual notification to residents of homes with lead utility service lines,
  • Offer complimentary tap water testing for lead,
  • Offer a free point-of-use, lead-reduction filter,
  • Give advice on how to ensure the best quality of drinking water at home, and
  • Have a program to replace lead utility service lines.

We have records for only the utility service lines and replace only this section. The property owner is responsible for replacing lead pipes on their private service line. EPCOR does not replace private service lines.

Our program takes into consideration a series of factors to schedule our replacements. For instance, if a homeowner is proactive and invests in the replacement of their private service line, EPCOR will assist by prioritizing the replacement of the lead utility service line leading to their property.

If you are interested in learning more about our Lead Service Replacement Program and the options available to you, please contact our Lead Program Representative at (780) 412-6858.

Is your service pipe lead?

 

Here's how to tell:

  1. If you receive annual notification letters from EPCOR, this means our records show you have a lead utility service line. If you are not the property owner, we ask that you share these letters with the owner.
  2. If your home was built after 1950, it is less likely to have a lead service line, yet there is still a small chance that it does.
  3. The colour, hardness and fittings of the service line coming out of the ground and into the water meter in your home can indicate whether your service line is lead. Here's how to check:
    1. Locate the emergency water shut-off valve or water meter in your home (usually found in the basement).
    2. Check the colour of the pipe coming out of the ground and into the meter. You may have to lightly sand the surface. If the pipe is:
      1. The colour of a Canadian penny: It's copper.
      2. Bright blue or black: It's likely plastic tubing (polyethylene). Important: Don't attempt to test the hardness of your pipe if you suspect it's plastic.
      3. Grey. It's galvanized iron or lead.
    3. The next indicators are the hardness and fittings:
      1. Don't attempt to test the hardness of your pipe if you suspect it's plastic.
      2. If it's a lead pipe, you'll be able to etch gently into the pipe with a sharp-tipped object. Lead is a relatively soft metal and cuts easily.

Examples of what water meters look like

Click on the links to view the images.

Water Service for Infill Development, Rezoning or Subdivisions

 

In cases of property redevelopment, where a development permit is in place, the property owner is responsible for upgrading the full service line, from the water main to the building, to current standards. EPCOR does not support the reuse of lead water service pipe for redeveloped properties. Residents or property developers involved in property redevelopment should contact the City of Edmonton at (780) 496-5444 to confirm the water line service meets current standards.

Partial lead pipe replacements

 

‚ÄčStudies have shown that replacing only one section of a lead service line is not effective in reducing lead levels at the tap and may result in temporarily increased lead levels. EPCOR avoids partial lead service line replacements, where only the utility service line is replaced, when possible. When partial service line replacements are required, due to water main repairs and renewals, we notify residents about the work we're doing, provide advice for maintaining water quality and encourage them to replace their private service lines as the best long-term solution.

Contact Us

 

EPCOR Lead Program Representative

Phone: (780) 412-6858

EPCOR Water Service Connection Inquiries

Phone: (780) 412-3955