Lead in Tap Water

Lead can dissolve into your drinking water from pipes and plumbing fixtures. If you have an old plumbing system, you may be at risk of lead exposure. 

Not all properties have lead pipes. The first thing to do is find out the age of your property. Your pipes may contain lead if your home was built before 1955. The lead pipes in Brantford map shows properties at risk for lead exposure. Contact us if you have a concern about lead pipes.

Checking your pipes at home

The following tests can help you check if you have lead pipes at home.

Scratch test

Inspect the pipe below your water meter. Scratch the surface with a coin. See if it leaves a shiny, grey mark. Lead is a very soft metal and can scratch easily. This may show that you have lead pipes.

Lead pipe test

If you have a pipe that is dull grey in colour and can easily bend, it may be made of lead. Lead pipes can bend into irregular shapes.

Magnet test

Lead does not attract magnets. If you place a magnet on the pipe and it doesn't stick, you may have lead in your pipes.

Tapping test

Tap the pipe with a coin to see if it is made of lead. A lead pipe will produce a dull noise, rather than a ringing noise.

Mixed metals

Look for discolouration on your floor to see if your copper pipe is made of lead below the floor. Some houses have lead pipes below the floor, which can be hard to detect.

Best ways to reduce lead in tap water in your house:

  • Install lead-free plumbing fixtures.
  • Replace your lead water service line.

If you discover that you have lead in your pipes:

  • Run your water to flush out lead for a few minutes and remember to flush out stagnant water every morning and any time that you have not used the water for more than 6 hours.
  • Only use cold water for cooking. Lead and other harmful heavy metals dissolve quickly in hot water.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. It will increase the level of lead concentration.

Benefits of replacing lead pipes

The City of Brantford encourages you to take advantage of our financial incentives for lead water service replacement, including a grant and loan. Apply for the Lead Water Service Replacement Grant and Loan Program

Replacing lead pipes will:

  • Lower risk of lead exposure.
  • Reduce risk of water service failure.
  • Improve water pressure.
  • Possibly increase property value.