Recent concerns over the potential for lead in drinking water have been raised in various municipalities throughout Canada. When water is tested for lead after it has already entered the distribution system, Health Canada has developed appropriate sampling protocols to assess if exposure to lead from drinking water may affect human health. The protocol used depends on the type of building tested.
If you are sampling from a school, multi-dwelling residence or a large building, sampling should be conducted by collecting a sample at drinking water fountains or at cold water taps where water is used for drinking or food preparation, without a stagnation period and without prior flushing. Two 125-mL samples should be collected at a medium to high flow rate without removing the aerator.
If you are sampling from residential dwellings, a 1-L sample should be collected randomly during the day from a drinking water tap in each residence. Samples should be collected without prior flushing; no stagnation period is prescribed to better reflect consumer use.
If you plan to test drinking water for lead, contact SRC Environmental Analytical Laboratories to discuss your needs. We can help assess if you need to use one of the above protocols and provide you with the correct sampling bottles.
Lead and Other Contaminants in Water
Leaching from plumbing (e.g., pipes, solder, brass fittings and lead service lines) can lead to elevated lead and copper concentrations in drinking water. Arsenic and uranium may be present in elevated levels from naturally occurring sources, such as erosion and weathering of rocks and soils. Canadian Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality specify maximum acceptable concentrations for lead (0.005 mg/L), arsenic (0.010 mg/L) and uranium (0.020 mg/L).
- Contaminants Package (Full trace metal scan)
Laboratory protocols for analyzing lead in drinking water have changed. The new sampling and analysis protocols help ensure particulate lead is accounted for in assessing drinking water quality. These changes impact processing time and testing price.