District Assures Quality Of Municipal Drinking Water In Muskoka

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Recent news reports regarding high levels of lead found in tap water in homes across Canada has prompted responses from municipalities across the country.  The District would like to assure the community that the municipal drinking water systems in Muskoka are safe.

“The District of Muskoka would like to confirm that there are no lead pipes in its municipal water distribution system,” said Marcus Firman, Director of Water and Wastewater Services with the District of Muskoka.

Municipal Drinking Water System Testing
Testing is undertaken regularly for lead in our distribution system, and the levels are always well below the Maximum Allowable Concentrations (MAC). Mandatory household sampling was conducted in 2007 and 2008 throughout Muskoka, and the results were such that Muskoka has been exempted from further household lead sampling. For more information and resources about Muskoka’s municipal drinking water system, please visit: www.muskoka.on.ca/en/live-and-play/Drinking-Water.aspx

Household Plumbing and Service Lines
In most of Canada, lead can enter the water supply from old lead pipes, lead solder and some fittings and fixtures in the plumbing of households. Lead solder was used for plumbing until 1990 when the National Plumbing Code of Canada no longer permitted the use of lead solder in new drinking water plumbing or in repairs to existing drinking water systems. Homeowners can be assured that lead pipes are not used throughout Muskoka in the municipal system, however, some fittings and solder connected to household plumbing, may contain lead. To flush water from household pipes, let the cold water tap run for a few minutes or until the water turns colder. This should be done before drinking or cooking, first thing in the morning, or any other time the plumbing system has not been used for several hours. For seasonal households, since water may be sitting stagnant in pipes, let the water run longer, to flush standing water out of the pipes. For more information and tips, visit the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit’s website at http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/SafeWater/drinkingwater.aspx

Schools and Childcare Centres
The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit states that schools and childcare centres are required to sample their water for lead as per Ontario Regulation 243/07 under the Safe Water Act, 2002 to help reduce the risk to children from exposure to lead in plumbing. This legislation requires annual sampling and testing of lead in drinking water to ensure lead levels are below the provincial Drinking Water Quality Standard O. Regulation 169/03. It also requires flushing of plumbing in schools to help reduce lead levels in drinking water. Flushing has been shown to reduce lead levels in water and is a recognized lead reduction strategy. The regulatory requirements for testing and flushing for lead in schools fall under the regulatory authority of the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks (MECP). If a school drinking water test result comes back above the provincial standard for lead, the schools communicate these results to the local Medical Officer of Health and the MECP to ensure corrective actions are carried out and the problem is resolved in accordance with Ontario Regulation 243/07.

The Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit has information, tips and resources on their website at: http://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/SafeWater/drinkingwater.aspx

Further information on flushing and sampling for lead in schools is available from the MECP at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/flushing-and-sampling-lead#section-3

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