(THUNDER BAY, ON) – The City of Thunder Bay (CTB) has announced that lead levels in the water supply are expected to rise, at least for people who have lead pipes.
Below is the release made by the city regarding the issue.
Important Notice: pH Change to the City’s Drinking Water
Lead Levels Expected to Increase for Customers with Lead Service Pipes – Filters to Be Provide
The pH of the drinking water of the City of Thunder Bay is changing as the City will phase out the addition of sodium hydroxide.
As a result of regulatory changes in Ontario, the City was mandated to implement a corrosion control plan to reduce lead levels at the tap. Sodium hydroxide was added to the City’s drinking water, in 2016, as part of a pilot study, as approved by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).
In 2018, sodium hydroxide was introduced city wide as a corrosion inhibitor to reduce lead levels at the tap for customers with lead service pipes or internal lead plumbing. Although the use of sodium hydroxide is effective at reducing lead levels, increased reports of pinhole leaks in pipes have been received which require further review.
The City is working closely with the MECP and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit on this change to the drinking water and evaluating other means of corrosion control that may be implemented in the future.
All customers should routinely flush their pipes prior to consumption to maintain water quality at the tap. This can be accomplished by taking a shower, flushing the toilet, doing a load of laundry, or running your cold water tap to clear the pipes.
Drinking water filters will be available to all customers with lead service pipes. In the coming weeks, customers with lead service pipes will receive additional information on this change and will be provided with a drinking water filter for one year at no charge. It is important customers use the filter provided as lead found in drinking water can pose significant health risks. This is especially important for homes with children under the age of 6, pregnant women, or women planning a pregnancy.
The City of Thunder Bay’s Water Authority’s top priority is to maintain a safe and sustainable supply of water for the citizens of Thunder Bay.
For more information on the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 and requirements for municipalities to implement a corrosion control plan, see Ontario Regulation 170/03 (Drinking Water Systems): https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/030170.
About Thunder Bay’s drinking water
In the City of Thunder Bay, our drinking water comes from Lake Superior. Water is delivered to us from the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant on Lakeshore Drive. The location and depth of the intake at the Plant makes our water quality stable for a long time. This ensures a safe water supply for City’s water system consumers. Learn how we protect our water to ensure that it’s safe to use.
Learn about lead in drinking water and how you can protect yourself.
The City strives to protect our drinking water and provide you with quality water through source water protection, backflow prevention, and quality control.
*Below, the American Water Works explains how to maintain high water quality, specifically with faucets:
*Excepted by permission. Copyright © American Water Works Association.
Raw water taken directly from the lake is not suitable for drinking. We have to treat it to meet Ontario’s drinking water regulations. At the Bare Point Water Treatment Plant:
- We draw water from its source;
- Pass it through a screening process;
- Filter it through the Zeeweed membrane filtration system; and
- Disinfect and then transport it through the City’s extensive water supply system.
Requirements for drinking water
The City’s Municipal Drinking Water Works Licence, in conjunction with the Safe Drinking Water Act and associated regulations, set stringent monitoring requirements for drinking water. The City employs a certified Laboratory for its drinking water testing requirements. The results of this monitoring process are available in the latest of the City of Thunder Bay’s Drinking Water Quality Annual Report, prepared as required by Ontario Regulation 170/03 Drinking Water Systems.