What is orthophosphate used for in water treatment?
Orthophosphate is a safe, tasteless, odorless substance, naturally present in foods as phosphate that forms a protective coating inside our city’s water infrastructure and inside household plumbing systems. Orthophosphate is a corrosion inhibitor for water service lines, and a proven water treatment method
to prevent corrosion and reduce the amount of lead in drinking water.
As part of EPCOR’s enhanced Lead Mitigation Program, EPCOR will be adding orthophosphate to our water treatment process in December 2022. Phosphate is a safe additive found naturally in foods such as bread, cheese, fruit and nuts. In fact, you’d have to drink 104 glasses of water with orthophosphate added to match the same amount of phosphorus found in one banana.
EPCOR has been managing lead levels since 2008 by removing household lead water service that showed high levels of lead; now we are supplementing this with orthophosphate due to other sources of lead that homeowners may not be aware of, like lead solder in the household plumbing or lead fixtures in taps. We expect that
the addition of orthophosphate will aid in the prevention of water line corrosion, lower lead levels, and achieve compliance with Health Canada’s lead concentration recommendations.
The addition of Orthophosphate in drinking water as a lead inhibitor was approved by City Council and City Administration in March 2019, and is the industry standard for reducing lead in water systems used by many municipalities throughout North America including Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Halifax, New York City and Washington D.C.