Have you ever wondered if the drinking water you've been sipping in Montreal is contaminated with lead or other things you don't want to be ingesting? Well, thanks to a new, official city of Montreal interactive map, you can find out!
In March, Health Canada ruled that the acceptable level of metals in tap water is 5 micrograms per litre. That's down from the previous 10 micrograms. The Quebec government took its time evaluating this Health Canada regulation and officially signed off on it this morning. The Quebec government assures the public that no matter what, drinking water across the province is 100% safe for consumption.
But despite this assurance, this summer, a study found that 16% of Montreal public schools had some form of "unacceptable contamination" in their water fountains. Lead was the common denominator in all cases. In response, Education Minister Jean-François Roberge ordered that every school in the province go through rigorous water testing to get up to standard.
But, what about your home?
Montreal's plumbing system certainly isn't getting any younger and as such has begun to be a problem. To tackle the issue, Mayor Valérie Plante announced that over the next three years, the city will test the water quality in over 100,000 Montreal homes.
Thankfully, the City of Montreal released a handy interactive map that allows residents to find out the quality of their drinking water.
Lead is found in drinking water mostly due to substandard or ageing plumbing systems. Exposure to too much lead can cause neurological development problems in young children and, in some cases, adult kidney damage.
Translation: Montreal presents its enhanced action plan for the replacement of lead service entrances (ESP). A plan that relies on science, screening, and the replacement of the public and private parts of all lead entry pipes of Montreal.
The map (found here) is easy to use. Simply type in your address and click on your building. It will then explain whether your water is fine or your home is considered at risk and needs renovations.
I live in Verdun, so I had to check out my address. I don't use water filters and the water is generally ok, but according to the map, I have at least one lead entry pipe on my lot.
I guess I have to go buy a water filter because the city says that my drinking water is at risk of containing an unacceptable amount of lead contaminants.
A Le Devoir report shows that in fact, some 300,000 Montreal homes are at risk of lead exposure in their drinking water.
Some places, however, are totally free of lead contamination. If we check out Concordia University's downtown campus, we see that the school is perfectly safe.
The portal isn't exclusively for residential properties. If you're a business owner, you can also check whether your business is at risk of lead contamination.
The provincial government would like municipalities across Quebec to come up with action plans to reduce the potential of lead contamination in drinking water. These include:
Identifying homes that are most likely to have a lead service pipe.
An estimated timeframe to replace all lead service entrances.
And finally, costing out the process.
Is your home or business in Montreal at risk for contaminated drinking water?
Make sure to verify if you need service by checking out Montreal's official interactive map here!