Rossland residents with older homes may want to consider testing their water systems for lead.
“If your home is prior to when they stopped using lead in solder, it’s definitely not a bad idea,” says Darrin Albo, the city’s manager of operations.
Lead, a soft metal, was commonly used in plumbing until it was banned from use in pipes in 1975 and banned from use in solder in 1986.
For many homes, businesses and public buildings constructed before then, there could be lead leaching into the drinking water.
If there is lead in your water, it’s not coming from the city water system, says Albo.
“There’s no worries of lead in the municipal distribution system,” says Albo.
He was responding to an inquiry from a retired construction worker who contacted the city.
“In the 1990s, I worked for Action [now Acres] Construction out of Kamloops. We replaced the waterline up Spokane Street,” says Barry Pidskalny.
“I was surprised to see lead service lines from the old water line to property line, where they connected to copper on private property.”
After reading about the problems with tainted water in Flint, Mich., Pidskalny says he wanted to speak up about what he saw all those years ago in Rossland.
“The Flint story has interested me over the years and reading how the government has again screwed things up in replacing lead lines there brought this memory back,” he says.
But Albo says the big infrastructure jobs the city has undertaken in recent years have cleared the city of most of its lead joints, and all but a few lines.
The last lead test by the city was in 2015.
When it was found a quarter of the province’s schools had unacceptable levels of lead in the water, Albo says the city checked its system while the school checked its water. The lead was found coming from inside the school’s plumbing.
“Our lead levels were 0.001 [mg/L],” says Albo. “The acceptable level is 0.01. We are well under acceptable levels.”
So any lead “won’t be coming [from] within city infrastructure, it will be from [homeowner’s] own infrastructure,” he told the Rossland News.
Rossland Summit School corrected its lead problem by swapping out its old lead joints with more modern materials, said Albo.
HealthLinkBC says even low-level ingestion of lead may harm the intellectual development, behaviour, size and hearing of infants and young children.