Windsor

Worried about lead in Windsor's drinking water? Enwin says it's not coming from their water supply

A national study has painted an alarming picture of lead levels in some Canadian cities. In Windsor, the picture isn't as bleak, but those in charge of our water are still working to get rid of lead altogether.

'The lead, specifically, is very much in relation to the customer home or the customer business'

Garry Rossi is the vice president of water operations for Enwin Utilities. (Sanjay Maru/CBC)

A recent study has painted an alarming picture of lead levels in some Canadian cities. In Windsor, the picture isn't as bleak, but those in charge of our water are still working to get rid of lead altogether.

Garry Rossi, vice president of water operations for Enwin Utilities — which operates the water system in Windsor — said significant progress has been made in reducing lead levels.

"Since we've introduced corrosion control in 2016, we've dropped lead levels 98 percent at the customer tap," said Rossi, adding no lead is coming from its water facility, rather its leaching in from service pipes and customer-owned pipes.

"The lead, specifically, is very much in relation to the customer home or the customer business. It depends on the infrastructure that they have within their building. The plumbing fixtures, the plumbing lines and the services that feed the home or business itself."

Federal guidelines recommend no more than five parts per billion of lead in drinking water — but Ontario's regulatory requirement has set its standard at ten parts per billion.

In 2018, only 18 water samples in Windsor exceeded lead levels of five parts per billion, including one which exceeded ten parts per billion, according to Rossi. That's out of more than 500 total samples taken that year.

Rossi said Enwin, which services the Windsor Utilities Commission (WUC), is actively replacing water lines to eliminate the presence of lead.

"Half of the line is owned by WUC. The other half of the service line is owned by the homeowner," he said, estimating about 15,000 of Enwin's lines have shown "the potential that there could be lead."

About 9,000 have been replaced, he said, with a goal of replacing the remaining lines 6,000 lines by 2026.

Rossi added customers can call Enwin to have utility workers replace the company's half of the water line which connects to the home or business owner's property, but only after customers have "removed all the lead on their side of the property."

"That is something that we will do. We will go out and replace that [city-owned] section for you."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.