Long-term exposure to small amounts of lead can have serious health effects. Infants, children under six and pregnant women are most at risk to the hazardous effects of lead.

Municipal drinking water does not contain lead. The most common source of lead in drinking water is from:

  • Lead water service pipes in homes built before the 1960s.
    • The water service pipe delivers water from the municipal water system to your home. Your municipality is responsible for the section of pipe from the watermain to your property line. The section from the property line to your home is the homeowner's responsibility.
    • Lead solder used on water pipes in homes built before the mid-to-late 1980s
    • Leaded-brass fixtures like faucets and valves

Lead can enter drinking water as these plumbing items age and breakdown.  

How to check for lead pipes

Contacting a licensed plumber for a visual inspection is the best way to determine if you have lead pipes in your home.

Homes built before the 1960s could have a lead water service pipe. If you don’t know the age of your home, check the purchase papers or contact the owner if you rent.

Check the pipe that enters your water meter if possible. It may be lead if it’s grey, scratches easily and doesn’t sound hollow when you tap it. 

 What to do if you have lead pipes

Replace your pipes

Replace all the lead pipes in your home including the water service pipe.

Flush your pipes

Flush your pipes before using your drinking water. If it has been several hours since you have last used your water flush the system with water until it runs cold and let it run for at least one minute longer. This will flush out any water with lead in it and pull fresh water into the pipes.

Use cold water

Lead transfer more easily into hot water than cold. Use cold water for all cooking and drinking, as it is less likely to contain lead.

Filter your water

Use a water filter that is certified for lead removal and reduction by the National Sanitation Foundation.

Testing for lead in drinking water

The City of North Bay offers a semi-annual lead sampling program. Residents who receive their water from the City’s water system can submit a water sample to test for the presence of lead.

District residents who do not live in the City of North Bay are advised to contact their municipal office for lead sampling services in their area.

Individuals who use private water systems such as wells can have their drinking water testing through licensed private laboratories

North Bay

345 Oak Street West

Parry Sound

70 Joseph Street Unit #302

Burk's Falls

17 Copeland Street (by appointment only)