Tests show no lead problem in Moosomin water

Tests were done in wake of high lead levels found in Saskatchewan cities’ water

December 23, 2019 8:15 am
Kevin Weedmark

Tests of water in Moosomin show that there are not elevated lead levels in the water sampled.

The tests were taken by the town because of high lead levels found in tap water in Regina and other Saskatchewan cities.

Some older water pipes were made of lead. The problem of lead in water in Regina cities is proving to be difficult to tackle, because some of the lead pipes are city-owned pipes delivering water to residences, but some are owned by the property owners, bringing the water from the property line to the home and distributing the water within the home.

Because of media reports of the lead levels in Regina water and water in other Saskatchewan cities, the town of Moosomin tested and found that lead levels are within accepted guidelines in all samples taken.

The samples were sent to the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s provincial laboratory for testing.

The Saskatchewan guidelines allow up to 10 micrograms—that’s a millionth of a gram—of lead per litre of water to be considered safe.

Water samples were taken at three locations in Moosomin November 27.

The water sample taken at the water treatment plant showed lead levels of 0.07 micrograms of lead per litre of water—.7 of one per cent of the acceptable level.

A sample taken at McNaughton High School showed a lead level of 0.2 micrograms of lead per litre, which is two per cent of the acceptable level.

A sample taken at Mac-Leod Elementary School showed a lead level of 0.3 micrograms of lead per litre of water, which is three per cent of the acceptable level.

Lab results reviewed by the World-Spectator show all other elements tested for in the water were far below acceptable limits. Elements tested for besides lead were Boron, Iron, Manganese, Aluminum, Arsenic, Barium, Cadmium, Chromium, Copper, Selenium, Uranium, Zinc, Antimony, and Silver.

Various factors can affect the amount of lead in tap water, not just the presence of lead pipes, but the acidity of the water. The city of Flint, Michigan went through a water crisis several years ago when the water supply was switched from treated water from Detroit to water taken straight from the Flint River. The more acidic river water led to faster corrosion of the lead pipes, and extremely elevated lead levels in the water.

Tap water in some older homes in Regina, Saskatoon, and Moose Jaw has been found to have several times the acceptable level of lead, and the cities are grappling with the problem.

Regina has provided water purification systems to affected homes as it will take several years to replace all the lead pipes in the city’s water distribution system.