The City of Williams Lake is in the process of checking its source water at its four test stations within the city for lead.
Director of Municipal Services Gary Muraca says that is due to recent media coverage of lead being in the water of some Canadian municipalities.
“We have a good inventory of our water system here in Williams Lake and we’re not aware of any lead-generating infrastructure out there,” he says.
“Where the lead most likely comes from is private plumbing like in your house or in the schools because back in the day prior to the 80s usually they would use a lead-based solder. They’d even have lead pipe and when the water sits for a certain period it puts the lead into the water.”
Muraca says that the City’s distribution system itself has been using PVC since the 90s as well as asbestos cement pipe and ductile iron pipe.
Despite the City’s results for the last 10 years indicating that there is no problem when it comes to lead, Muraca says the same cannot be said for residents with private plumbing.
“We’re just doing our due diligence based on the article. We do our testing and we do it annually and semi-annually but we just want to go out there” he says.
“We had already winterized our test stations and we usually test parameters and lead is one of them, but now we just want to focus on the lead testing on this result. So we’re actually taking the sample and we’re sending it off to test for lead at our distribution, so these are just our test ports and are not going through private systems but coming from our distribution system.”
The test results from the test stations located at Cattle Drive, South Lakeside, Kuzuki Road, and Mandarino Place are expected to be available sometime next week.
“The next step would be for us to go and possibly test some of our buildings,” Muraca says.
“That would be something up to the homeowner once we confirm the distribution system doesn’t have it to go and check to see if there’s lead in their water because that would be an indication that they’re supplying the lead to their own system themselves”
A year-long investigation by more than 120 journalists from nine university and 10 media organizations including the Toronto Star found 33 percent of the 12,000 tests in 11 cities across Canada since 2014 exceeded the national safety guideline for lead of 5 parts per billion.