Lead Testing in Lacombe County

Lacombe County Utilities staff will be conducting lead testing from May 1, 2021 to September 30, 2021. To accomplish this, they will be selecting several houses and businesses that have a higher chance of having lead service lines for their water-based on construction dates and other data.

If you have not been contacted by Lacombe County, but wish to have your water tested, please contact Lacombe County at 403-782-8959 and speak with Darren Dempsey, Utilities Manager.

What is the County doing about it?

Lacombe County staff will complete sampling in the Hamlet of Mirror, Lakeview Estates and Aspelund Business Parks as per Alberta Environment’s protocol (see image below)

 

Homes, where lead is greater than (>) 0.005 mg/L, will result in re-testing water as per Alberta Environments “profile sampling” (below). This type of in-depth sampling will be performed to determine the location of the lead source(s).

If lead is found on the private property side of the service connection, or within the building’s plumbing, residents are encouraged to use point-of-use (POU) devices immediately to remove lead in drinking water.  Some examples are:

  • Pour-through pitchers/carafe;
  • Faucet mount;
  • Counter-top connected to sink faucet through hose/tubing;
  • Plumbed-in and usually installed under a sink and filtered water dispensed through a separate faucet directly to the kitchen sink;
  • Refrigerator filter installed in the refrigerator that typically dispenses filtered water through the refrigerator door; and
  • Reverse osmosis (RO) that connects to plumbing under the sink and uses a membrane filter to reduce lead (also can reduce minerals/total dissolved solids)

Devices chosen should be certified to remove lead (appropriate NSF/ANSI 53 drinking water filters).  Follow manufacturer's specifications in filter cartridge maintenance and replacement.  In accordance with Health Canada’s guidelines, phase II of Alberta Environment’s lead management program will roll out sometime in 2024/2025.

Why is Lacombe County only testing in the Hamlet of Mirror, Lakeview Estates and Aspelund Industrial?

At this time, Alberta Environment and Parks is only implementing lead testing programs in waterworks systems that fall under their jurisdiction.  Independent wells and waterworks systems that service the rest of the County would be the responsibility of that home or business owner.

That said, Lacombe County can forward laboratory information to those who are concerned about their water quality or who require further information in testing their home for lead. Please call 403-782-8959 to speak with Darren Dempsey, Utilities Manager.

What will Lacombe County staff be looking for?

The County will provide water quality testing for identified properties that may have lead water service lines or plumbing and fixtures. Monitoring for lead will require water sampling at the tap within buildings, as lead concentrations can be affected by plumbing fixtures and building service lines, especially in older homes.

Through water sampling, the laboratory will determine if the 0.005 milligrams/litre (mg/L) Maximum Acceptable Concentration (MAC) has been acceded.  If this MAC is exceeded a second sample of the complete line capacity will be done by County to determine where the lead is located. 

Test results will be shared with the resident directly.

We will not publish a household's water test results publicly, as we respect the privacy of the participants in the water testing program. However, the resident must sign an information release form for the address of the tested home/business for Alberta Environment and Parks.  This “address only” information is retained by the provincial government and Lacombe County. Test results will be delivered back to the resident within 14 days.

What is my responsibility vs. the County’s responsibility should lead levels be too high?

The County’s responsibility is from the water main to the property line.  The homeowner’s responsibility is from the property line to the home or business.  All pipes, solders and fittings on private property are the responsibility of the property owner.

I don’t live or work in the Hamlet of Mirror, Lakeview Estates or Aspelund Industrial Business Park. How can I test my water for lead?

You cannot see, smell or taste lead in water. Laboratory testing at the tap is the only way to determine the lead levels in your home. Testing is recommended during warm water periods of May through September.

Residents can also arrange for testing by an accredited and licensed private laboratory.  Labs such as:

  • Caro Analytical Services (1-888-311-8846)
  • WSH Labs (1-800-449-6544)
  • Kaizen Lab Inc (403-297-0412)

These labs will be happy to provide you with a cost estimate for a sampling kit and information to sample your home.

If my house was found to have lead service pipes and water samples have been taken, can I receive the results of the testing?

Yes, all lead sampling results will be returned to the resident within 14 days of samples being received at the lab.  The individual results of testing will only be released to you, the homeowner.