Old homes may still have lead pipes

I grew up on Third Street behind the arena.
Our home was the second to be built in that new subdivision and as a young four-year-old, the street was my playground.
There really wasn’t an alley and everything behind our home was bush.
The ditches were wide and deep. The street was a gravel road. I became a young supervisor watching homes be built.
Don Christian amazed me, cutting down the sides of basements with a dragline. He could dig a basement in a day.
He also dug a trench out to the street to connect sewer and water to homes. Shutoffs were installed and pipes were laid.
On a bright sunny day, you could see your face in the mirror of the copper pipes before they were unrolled from the street to the property line and then under the forms of the footings into what would become the basement.
I remembered that reading about the high percentage of lead pipes in schools and homes across Canada.
This past summer, as Bay City Contracting dug up the Second Street in front of my home and replaced sewer pipes and water lines, a pile of malleable lead pipe was folded and stored in a large crate box on Victoria Ave.
Some of the older homes in the neighborhood are over 100 years in age and you could expect that they would still have lead pipe running into them.
The province of Ontario has declared on their website that you can feel safe drinking the water that comes out of your tap. Municipalities are not required to test for lead the water coming into households.
Yet a recent investigation by the Toronto Star and universities across Canada have discovered unacceptable levels of lead in tap water in homes.
It is estimated that 165,000 homes across Canada are still serviced with lead pipes and many elementary and high schools across Canada have lead pipes.
Sometime in the history of my home, the lead pipes had been replaced by copper.
Many homes still had lead pipe running from the water main to the property shut off valve. All of those were replace with new copper lines.
Property owners who had lead pipes running from the shutoff valve to their home could make a decision to either replace the piping into their home or keep the lead pipe in place.
It was a difficult choice to make because costs were in the several thousands of dollars.
In Fort Frances, if your home was built prior to 1950, there remains a good chance that you have lead pipes leading to your home.
Ontario plumbing codes after 1950 discouraged the use of lead pipes. It wasn’t until 1975 that the National Plumbing Code prohibited the use of lead pipes in Canada.
Lead water testing kits are available, but the Northwestern Ontario Health Unit indicates that they are not truly reliable and encourages people who suspect that they may have lead pipes to contact their municipal water distribution division and request that the tap water in their homes be tested for lead that exceeds the safe amounts standards set out by Health Canada.

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