Manitoba

Brandon to offer rebate on water filters in response to lead concerns

The city of Brandon will offer residents in areas identified as having lead water service connections a rebate on water filters. It's part of an updated plan to address higher-than-acceptable lead concentrations in the tap water of some Brandon homes.

Details of the rebate program are expected to be ready by mid-July

The City of Brandon has had persistent problems with high lead concentrations from tap water in many homes in older neighbourhoods. (CBC File Photo)

The City of Brandon will offer residents in areas identified as having lead water service connections a rebate on water filters.

It's part of an updated plan to address higher-than-acceptable lead concentrations in the tap water of some Brandon homes. 

The city said the rebate program will apply to all Brandon properties that have either been identified as having lead service connections or that have tested for lead at levels higher than national drinking water guidelines. The program will include a one-time cash rebate of up to $100.

The city is budgeting $600,000 for the rebate program. 

Patrick Pulak, Brandon's director of engineering services and water resources, told a city council meeting Monday night that plans for the rebate program and the wider communication strategy are still being finalized and should be ready by mid-July. 

City to inform residents

City staff will be contacting residents by direct letter mail delivery late next month to explain the risks.

"With the larger centres like senior housing or the university, we're going to meet with the managers of those buildings," Pulak told city council.

"It's easier said than done to actually get that information into the hands of the right people."

Area of affected homes expanded 

It's estimated that about 3,600 homes in Brandon were built using lead water service pipes. Pulak told council that the area is being expanded to include 5,000 homes to ensure nobody is missed. 

According to Health Canada, lead concentrations should not exceed 10 parts per billion for drinking water. Consuming water with anything above that can lead to adverse health effects, such as developmental problems in children.

CBC News recently collected 30 random water samples from Brandon's core. Ten per cent came back with higher-than-acceptable lead levels. 

Pulak said tenants of apartment blocks, as well as renters, will be eligible for the water filter rebate, not just the owners of the buildings. 

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said City of Brandon staff will be knocking on doors and meeting with residents one-on-one. In fact, the city says it will be communicating with residents "via direct letter mail delivery."
    Jun 21, 2016 6:55 PM CT