Nova Scotia Pilot Monitoring Program for Lead in Drinking Water

Health Canada is considering lowering the guideline for lead and introducing new protocols to test for its presence in drinking water. We are conducting a pilot monitoring program for lead in drinking water with support from the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. Our aim is to gather better data on lead in drinking water in Nova Scotia. This will help the department understand whether there may be challenges to prepare for if the new guideline and protocol are established.

During the pilot phase of this program, we will work with municipal drinking water utilities around the province.

Information for Homeowners

We are looking for homeowners from several municipalities to participate in the pilot program. If your home has a lead service line that connects to the municipal supply or was built before 1960, we would like to take samples of your water.

This would involve one of our researchers spending about 45 minutes in your home:

·  First, they would take a 1 litre sample from a tap that you use for drinking water.

·  Second, they would run the water for 5 minutes, then wait for 30 minutes without any water running in the house, and then take two 1 litre samples.

There is no obligation for you to participate. There is no cost to you as a homeowner. We will give you the results of your water tests and an explanation of what they mean.

If you are interested in being involved or have any questions about the program, please contact us at or phone 1-902-494-6070.

Sampling Strategy Details

We are focusing on homes with lead service lines as they are likely to have the highest lead concentrations. The program will use the proposed new Health Canada sampling strategy for residential dwellings. This sampling strategy includes random daytime (RDT) and 30-minute stagnation (30MS) sampling. Procedures for are as follows:

•  RDT sampling: A 1 L sample collected randomly during the day from a drinking water tap at each residence. Samples are collected without prior flushing, and no stagnation period is prescribed to better reflect consumer use.

•  30MS sampling: The tap is flushed for 5 minutes, then allowed to stand for a 30-minute stagnation period during which time no water is drawn from any outlet within the residence. Two 1 L samples are collected at a medium to high flow rate (greater than 5 L/minute). The lead concentration is determined by averaging the results from the two samples.