Lead is not a problem in the public water distribution system in Salmon Arm, but might be in older Salmon Arm homes.
Following a national news story that points to water contaminated by lead in many towns across the country, a check with city staff reveals that the public system is considered OK.
“I would say that we are in a much better position compared to the communities identified in the article; this should not be a concern for the residents of Salmon Arm,” states Rob Niewenhuizen, the city’s director of engineering and public works.
He says the city has a thorough inventory of its water distribution system and staff are not aware of any lead-leaching materials within the public system.
“The city started using copper pipe in the 1960s and then PEX pipe in the 1990s for water services.”
However, plumbing materials within private property are not monitored by the city.
“We would encourage homeowners with homes constructed earlier than 1975 to have their water tested if they have concerns regarding lead levels,” said Niewenhuizen. “The American Waterworks Association (Plain Talk About Drinking Water – Fifth Edition, 2010) recommends that users concerned about lead contamination can run their tap until the water runs cold whenever the water has not been used for any length of time, such as overnight. In an effort to conserve this wasted water, it can be used for watering plants or other non-potable household uses.”
Calls to a number of plumbing-related businesses in Salmon Arm found none with water testing kits that test for lead. However, two plumbing supply companies suggested calling Caro out of Kelowna, which can test for the heavy metal.
At Caro, located at #101-3677 Highway 97 N. in Kelowna, a spokesperson confirms that people can order a testing bottle online at caro.ca, or come to the business and pick up one. Then a sample must be submitted to Caro within three days of sampling and it will be analyzed within five to seven business days.
The website contains information on how to sample correctly.