Water is the source of all life, the primary makeup of our bodies. Every living organism needs it. Unfortunately, the path water takes from its source to our drinking glasses is a long one, and requires a lot of purification and protection.
For people living in a city, water comes from the municipal water service pipes; for people living in rural areas, their water might come from a well-based system – or any number of local sources, like cisterns, streams, rivers or tanks. In any case, it’s incumbent on the government to ensure the public water supply is safe to drink… to a point.
You’ve probably heard of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. After switching the city’s source of water from Lake Huron over to the Flint River, inadequate treatment of the water meant that the lead pipes being used to transport the potable water leached lead. Consequently, many Flint residents suffered elevated lead levels, which caused – and is still causing – widespread health problems.
Toronto certainly doesn’t have Flint levels of problems, but our own system is fraught with issues, also surrounding lead. In this post, we’ll discuss Toronto’s own water woes, and explain how we can improve your home water quality without breaking the bank.
Toronto Water – a Clean and Safe Source
According to the City of Toronto, the city’s drinking water is collected from Lake Ontario and dispersed among tanks and reservoirs in 13 different pressure districts. The water is clean and safe to drink. An accredited lab working for the City of Toronto tests the water every six hours, in addition to 15,000 annual bacteriological tests. The City of Toronto treats over one billion litres of drinking water a day, which eventually winds up in our drinking glasses, in our bathtubs, in the sink to clean our dishes or the hose to water our garden.
Yes, before it comes to our houses, Toronto water undergoes many steps of purification. Hard particles, bacteria, and other harmful things are removed before the water is pumped to the main service pipe. So, you might wonder: why am I reading this article? If Toronto water is so meticulously purified, what can go wrong?
The Potential Recontamination of Water
The source of the water might be clean and potable, but, unfortunately, it turns out that water can become contaminated again as makes its way through your home’s pipes. Some Toronto homes, especially old homes, are serviced by old pipes that discharge heavy metal molecules like lead.
While Toronto’s problem is not on the scale of Flint’s crisis, one thing that Flint has illustrated is that lead in the drinking water is no laughing matter. It has been proven by scientists that lead can cause cancer and other health problems if accumulated in the human body, and that even at low exposure levels it can be hazardous. Particularly affected are young people exposed to lead: the metal can cause developmental issues in children, babies and foetuses, including damage to the nervous system.
Lead pipes, like the kind found in many older Toronto homes, deteriorate and corrode over time, causing the lead to leach into the water supply. Due to the ease of lead pipes leaching lead into the water supply, and due to the deleterious effects lead can have on humans, you can see why it is absolutely crucial to remove the lead pipes from your home immediately.
Removing Your Lead Pipes
In order to improve the quality of our drinking water, the City of Toronto runs a “lead replacement program “ and will offer to replace the city’s portion of the pipes at no cost to the homeowner (You can read more about it online, or drop us a line to talk about it.)
However, to use this program, the homeowner has to upgrade her/his own private portion to be up-to-date with the current plumbing codes. That’s where we step in – not only do we offer home smart products to improve water quality but we’re also experts in replacing lead pipes with safer materials. Not only that, but we do it delicately, taking great steps to minimally disturb your property.
You see, a replacement of the main water supply pipe from a property line to the basement implies digging, breaking concrete and torpedo drilling. Mister Plumber has vast experience and all the necessary modern equipment to perform the work with minimum landscape disturbance. While other, more slapdash jobs can leave your property in a real mess, our experienced experts get the job done without the fuss.
In the picture above, you can see the underground connection of private and city pipes at a property line. The picture below shows a newly installed 3/4” copper pipe with a new shut off valve. We installed this new pipe into an underground channel made by a torpedo. In doing so, we did not need to dig a trench, and we were able to use two points of access: the hole at the property line, and the basement water meter location.
Not only are we around to keep your drains cleaned when they get getting clogged, but we’re also on call to replace your pipes if they are dangerous. Every homeowner has the right and expectation to clean, potable water. The City of Toronto does its part to make certain that water drawn from Lake Ontario is as pure as possible, and it takes the extra step of ensuring that city-side pipes are lead free.
It’s up to you, the homeowner, to make sure that your private pipes are not compromising that clean drinking water with harmful lead. To make sure your home has clean water, without sacrificing the integrity of your property by digging unsightly trenches, call Mister Plumber. Especially if your home is old (i.e. built before around the mid-1950s) you should get your pipes checked for lead.
We’re always happy to help a fellow Torontonian stay safe, and we’re excited to add you to the always-growing list of satisfied customers we serve.