Water Quality Testing

Lead Testing

Lead testing is done once a year in Richmond Hill. Water samples are taken from a tap at the end of water service lines in older areas of our community. Lead testing is mandatory under the Safe Drinking Water Act and is part of the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks testing practices. 

The maximum acceptable amount of lead in drinking water is 0.01 mg/L. Lead levels are only detectable to 0.0007 mg/L. This year's confirmed lead levels in our area are lower than the detectable amount.

City of Toronto water additive
The City of Toronto is adding phosphate to its drinking water system to reduce the amount of lead in the water. Phosphate is a food-grade additive that forms a protective coating on the inside of pipes. This reduces the potential for lead to enter our drinking water. The process is called corrosion control. It will take up to two years for the phosphate to form an ideal protective coating.
How does lead get into our water?

Lead can get into our drinking water when still water comes into contact with lead materials for several hours. There are a number of sources of lead in residential areas, such as:

  • Lead-based materials to join copper pipes
  • Facets made of brass and chrome plated brass
  • Lead pipes that connect homes to a watermain
How will Richmond Hill stop lead from getting into our water?
Richmond Hill has been proactive when it comes to replacing lead materials through capital or maintenance programs. Replacements take place in areas that were constructed before 1952. We let homeowners know when we find lead materials that need to be replaced on private properties. It is the homeowners' responsibility to handle the replacement in these cases but they are not legally required to do so.
Water quality report
Richmond Hill produces a water quality report every year. This report is available to the public.

Contact the Water Quality Analyst at 905-884-8013 for more information about water quality in Richmond Hill.

What can you do to avoid lead exposure?

Here are some tips to reduce any possible exposure to lead in your plumbing:

  • Flush standing water in the pipes each morning by first flushing the toilet, washing your hands or letting the water run  for five minutes or until the water is cold
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking or preparing baby formula
  • Call a licensed plumber to find out if any of your pipes, pipe fittings or your service link contain lead (this doesn't mean there is lead present in your water but there is a possibility of it being present)
  • Arrange for a testing by a private accredited licences laboratory

Water Additive

Richmond Hill's drinking water is safe and drinking water exceeds the high quality standards set by the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks. It is tested regularly and the City of Toronto adds phosphate to our drinking water as an extra level of protection from lead getting into our drinking water.

How does lead get into our drinking water?
Homes built before the 1950s have plumbing fixtures made of leaded-brass. Lead was also used to join pipes together before 1990 and can be found in plumbing parts, such as faucets and valves. As these parts break down, the amount of lead in drinking water can increase.
What are the lead concentrations in Richmond Hill water?

Every year, Richmond Hill publishes a water quality report that has the results of our latest water quality testing. The report also have more information about how we get our water and our water works system.

Where does Richmond Hill get its water?
Richmond Hill's water is taken from Lake Ontario and is treated by the City of Toronto and Peel Region. The water is then pumped to York Region and delivered to Richmond Hill. We monitor and test our water to make sure quality and safety standards are met.
Why do we need to add phosphate to our water?

Phosphate is a food-grade additive that forms a protective coating on the inside of pipes. It reduces the potential for lead to enter drinking water. The process is called corrosion control. It will take up to two years for the phosphate to form an ideal protective coating.

Toronto's recent filtration and disinfection processes showed a minimal amount of lead in its water pipes. Corrosion control is needed in this case, according to the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Call our Public Works Operations Division 905-771-8800 if you have any concerns about the taste and odour of your water.