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Just curious to hear about experiences, good and bad, with people having their water tested by the City, and/or having the supply line replaced.

We just moved into our place on Rushbrooke, and have pretty poor water pressure. We're on the 8-10 week waiting list to receive our testing kit from the City, but we suspect (as did our home inspector) that it's likely our low pressure is in part attributable to lead pipe that needs to be replaced.

Are there many supply lines in the neighbourhood that have been replaced already, or is this something that everybody in the neighbourhood is dealing with now? Seems that if the problem is so widespread, it might make more sense for the City to just work at replacements street by street instead of patchwork.

Tags: City of Toronto, lead, water

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Hi Nolan:

Actually I just had my water tested. The City of Toronto's standard for acceptable lead is less than 10ppm. It's important to note that Leslieville is one of the worst areas for lead in soil and water and that regardless of what the city says, there is no acceptable level of lead for humans.

I sent my test water sample to the City, which revealed my water is at 11ppm. All I could think at that point was I was growing dumber each day. As a matter of fact, I have been drooling a great deal of late. eeeeeek.

So as I learned there are two areas contributing to lead in your house; your main line from the city and the pipes in your house. I checked in my house and it didn't look like I had lead pipes (you actually can scratch the pipes and if stuff comes off, it's likely lead. Also, if you scratch lead you will be dead within 15 minutes). The city came a few weeks later, tore up my front lawn and replaced my main line.

BUT, I don't want to drool anymore...so I ended up getting a reverse osmosis filtration system (about $500) so all the water I drink comes from my new system. No more bottled water for this drooler.

hope that helps....if you're on Rushbrooke (I'm on Caroline)...there's a good chance you're in the same situation as me.
Last summer (2007) we had our water tested - actually the city fellow stopped in front of the house, telephoned my husband, he had to go out and get the kit (or whatever it was) and put some water in it. Then bring it back out to the fellow who never left his car. But I digress.
Our water was a bit over the city's standard limit so the city suggested we get all our pipes changed, but they did come by on their own a short time later and dug up the old main city pipes and replaced them. As we are semi-detached (on Alton Ave) both homes benefited. Our pipes inside are not lead. Don't know if we will do the same as Sean D.

Our water pressure has never been an issue however.
HI Nolan

We had a water tested in the summer and it was under the standard for acceptable lead. From discussions with my neighbours it appears that houses on the side of the street where the water main is (ie my side) don't have any issues with lead in their water as there is less distance to travel and thus less exposure to lead pipes. The houses on the other side of the street have had some issues but not all tested above the acceptable standard.

We still signed up to have pipes from the water main changed but given the city prioritizes the house with an unacceptable lead presence we will probably have our pipes changed in 2020. Apparently after they replace the pipes from the water main to your house, the water pressure improves dramatically.

Hope that helps give you some insight.
One more thing- there is an article in the Toronto Star http://www.thestar.com/article/570605

It references a couple who bought a house in Leslieville.
I hadn't heard about the 'proximity to the water main' factor before...that's interesting though (and totally makes sense). I wonder which side of the street our water main is on.

I just wish they'd hurry up with my testing kit already. If this isn't the reason for our low water pressure, I'm not looking forward to the plumbing bills to figure out the cause.
I actually went to the open forum that Paula Fletcher hosted last week. The city's timeline for updating the watermains is 9 years (unless you are deemed high priority due to excessive levels of lead) - there's some 60000 houses due for an upgrade. The City reps had a map showing which streets were due for upgrade in 2009 - let me tell you, it ain't much

For the Leslievillers, if your water is below 10 ppb for lead (the level the City requires to move you up the priority list), don't count on the city upgrading your street's water mains any time soon.

They did have some suggestions for dealing with the lead - let the water run for a bit before drinking, especially in the morning. It will flush out the standing water in the pipes.

They also had recommendations for water filters that are effective at removing lead - mostly the types you put on your taps, but there was a "Brita-style" one that is apparently quite effective, although, ironically, actual Brita filters/water jugs are not so effective.

Apparently, the model that is effective is available at Cdn Tire, though the name escapes me. My guess is you could find it on Paula Fletcher's website.

Not sure that it made me feel better about knowing the Leslieville is the worst area of the city for lead in the water, but at least they did something.
Can anyone recommend where to get a reverse osmosis system for around $500? our test came back at 32ppb.

Yes..... 32. On Larchmount. Ridiculous.
If you want to do the DIY install, Home Depot has both reverse osmosis and single/dual stage carbon filter systems that filter out 99% of lead. If you're looking for a full service install, I know Sean D had a R.O. system put in.

I just got a quote from the city recommended private contractor to replace the portion of the water feed that is on our private property.

I'm looking to get 1-2 additional quotes for comparison.  Has anyone had this done?  If so, do you have a water contractor you can recommend?

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