Commonly Asked Questions

The City of Brantford is committed to making sure that we deliver safe, clean and reliable drinking water to our residents, businesses and visitors. This is done through a complex water treatment process and continuous testing so that our water supply always meets or exceeds the Safe Drinking Water Act set by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP).

Commonly asked questions about lead in tap water

Is Brantford water safe to drink?
Brantford’s drinking water supply produced at the City’s water treatment plant does not contain any lead. It is clean and safe to drink. However, in homes built before 1955, private water service pipes from the property line into the building and the plumbing inside the home may contain lead from which lead could be leaching into the tap water. The homeowner is responsible for maintaining their private water service pipe and plumbing.
Who is affected by lead in tap water?
Homes that were built before 1955 may have a lead water service pipe. Most of the lead services in Brantford are located in the downtown area, including the neighbourhoods of Holmedale, Eagle Place, West Brant and East Ward. According to City records, roughly 8% or approximately 2,555 of the water services in the city are made of lead. Currently, we estimate that there are 118 water service pipes that are suspected to be made of lead in the city.
What is the City currently doing to eliminate lead water services?
The City of Brantford has replaced virtually all City owned portions of lead service pipes. To encourage homeowners to replace their portion of the lead service pipe (from the property line into the building) there are financial incentives available. The City offers a $1,000 grant and up to a $3,000 interest bearing loan towards covering the cost of replacing a lead service pipe.  Home owners must apply and be approved for the grant and/or loan prior to work commencing in order to be eligible. Lead grant applications can be accessed at https://forms.brantford.ca/Public-Works/Lead-Grant-Application
How does lead impact overall health?
Health Canada says “….The toxicity of lead has been extensively documented in humans, based on blood lead levels (BLLs). Effects that have been studied include increased blood pressure and renal dysfunction in adults, as well as adverse cognitive and behavioural effects in children….” Please contact your local physician or visit the Health Canada for more information. 
Is the City of Brantford testing for lead?
The City of Brantford offers free lead testing all year long for anyone who has a lead water service pipe or suspect that they may have a lead water service pipe. To schedule your free lead test please contact the City at 519-759-4150. 
Is the homeowner informed if the tap water failed the lead test?
The lead test results are mailed directly to homeowners and residents of rental properties impacted by lead service pipes. City staff will call the homeowner directly if the results are above the provincial standard of 10 ppb (parts per billion).
Can you explain the history of lead testing in Brantford?
The City has been sampling for lead since 2008.Currently, approximately 20% of the properties we have tested to date exceed the maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) of 10 ppb.
What is the difference between the provincial and federal standard?
The federal guideline was updated in 2019 from 10 ppb to 5 ppb. The provincial Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) has not updated the regulation to reflect the federal guideline and currently uses 10 ppb as the Maximum Acceptable Concentration.
What if it’s not economically feasible at this time for a homeowner to replace their lead service?
There is a filter program offered by the City of Brantford to protect the vulnerable population (children under the age of six years old and pregnant women). Eligible residents may apply for a free filtration system and replacement cartridges. If a homeowner is not eligible for a filter from the City of Brantford, and cannot replace the lead water service line immediately, an NSF-53 filter for lead is available for purchase at major hardware stores.
What does a lead water service line look like?
The water service pipe in your home is located below the water meter. If the water service pipe is made of lead, it will scratch easily to a dull grey color. Additionally, a Lead pipe will not attract a magnet. The City offers free inspections to identify all of the suspected water services that might be composed of lead. Please call the City at 519-759-4150 to schedule an inspection.
How is the City of Brantford informing residents of their lead water service lines?
The City of Brantford regularly sends letters to homeowners and affected residents who have a lead service line or are suspected to have a lead service line (based on City records) twice a year.
What is the method that the City of Brantford uses to collect lead water samples?
The City of Brantford has always used the recommended method provided by the provincial Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP). The tap water is flushed for a minimum of 5 minutes, followed by a 30 to 35 minute stagnation period before water samples are collected.
Does the City have an in-house laboratory for testing?
No, the City uses an accredited laboratory for lead concentration analysis.
What if I see copper pipe coming up through the floor, but the City keeps sending me letters?
To confirm your service material, please call the City for a free inspection at 519-759-4150.