Ottawa homeowners with lead water pipes could soon be eligible for a new rebate that would help with the replacement of those pipes.
The city's Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management approved an update to its Lead Pipe Replacement Program on Tuesday. That includes a rebate of up to $1,000 -- about 20 per cent of the total pipe replacement cost.
As a stop-gap measure, homeowners with confirmed lead levels that exceed Health Canada's recently updated guideline, or who are awaiting pipe replacement under the program, could get a year's worth of free water filters to remove lead from their tap water.
The city would also continue to offer loans for properties where both the private and city portions of the water pipes are made of lead.
These program updates will now go before city council.
Homeowners might have lead water pipes if their house was built before 1955. To have water tested for lead, residents are asked to call 3-1-1 to make an appointment.
Although Ottawa's drinking water supply is lead-free, small amounts of lead can dissolve as water flows through lead pipes, household plumbing and taps. In response to Health Canada's new guideline for lead in drinking water, the city is expected to add a trace amount of phosphate during treatment to improve corrosion control for watermains and household plumbing, minimizing exposure to lead in tap water caused by lead pipes. The city says this new treatment is being implemented proactively in anticipation of the province adopting the new lead standard.