Annual lead and copper sampling program for residential tap water

April 6, 2024

Annual lead and copper sampling program for residential tap water

SYDNEY, NS - The CBRM Water Utility is seeking volunteers for the annual lead and copper sampling program for residential tap water. The program is for customers of the CBRM Water Utility, not for those whose water source is a well. 
The Water Utility routinely monitors water quality within distribution systems. In 2020, Nova Scotia Environment introduced additional sampling requirements for lead and copper within customers’ homes.

This sampling program will be provided free of charge to a limited number of customers in each CBRM distribution system (Sydney, Glace Bay, Northside, New Waterford, Louisbourg, Floral Heights and Centreville).

Participants will be registered on a first come first serve basis until the program goals are met. The program occurs every year.

Customers can sign up online here.

This water sampling will determine if lead and copper are present in customers’ tap water and a results letter will be provided.  Although lead and copper can occur naturally in the environment, a main source in drinking water is through leaching of plumbing materials such as pipes, solder, faucets, and fittings. While copper is an acceptable material for use in plumbing, lead is no longer an acceptable building material.

The National Plumbing Code allowed lead material in pipes until 1975, lead in solder until 1986, and lead in fittings or faucets until 2013. In 2019, Health Canada lowered their maximum acceptable concentration for lead in drinking water from 0.010mg/L to 0.005mg/L and introduced a new maximum acceptable concentration for copper of 2 mg/L.

Health Canada also changed the acceptable locations for sample collection. Samples for lead and copper must now be collected within homes and buildings where customers obtain water for drinking and cooking. 

The municipality aims to conduct sampling at approximately 150 residences from among the municipality's water system customers.