Does your home have lead water pipes? Montreal will replace them - and send you the bill
The city of Montreal announced Wednesday that it plans to replace 48,000 water pipes leading into Montreal homes by 2030 - and it will be sending homeowners the bill.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said that the city is speeding up its scheduled replacement of lead pipes to help the city adhere to more stringent standards for safe levels of lead in drinking water. In March, Health Canada revised the recommended maximum concentration of lead in drinking water from 10 micrograms per litre to five.
Most of the homes that are likely to have lead water pipes would be homes built before 1970, particularly post-war (1940-1955) constructions.
Plante stressed that the water in Montreal is already of "excellent quality," but said the increased pace and scale of the city's plans are because lead can find its way into Montrealers' drinking water through lead pipes, namely the ones that connect homes to the city's central water supply.
Replacement of those lead pipes could cost Montreal homeowners anywhere from $2,000 to $15,000, the city estimates. The city will proceed with replacing the pipes and then bill homeowners, who will then have up to 15 years to pay the bill.
Homeowners can consult an interactive map that the City has posted online to see if their homes have lead pipes.
In the past, the city had asked owners of homes that were found to have lead pipes to replace the parts that were on private property, while the city would cover the cost of replacing the parts that were on city property. The city said this voluntary approach has not been as successful as it had hoped, which is why the city is taking over responsibility for replacing all lead pipes.
In a 2007 plan, the city estimated that 69,000 homes in Montreal had lead pipes, and aimed to have them all replaced by 2026. By the end of 2019, some 21,000 homes will have had their pipes replaced, an average of 1750 a year, the city said.
On Wednesday, the Quebec government announced that the province will be the first to adhere to Health Canada's new standards for lead in drinking water.