Jun 02, 2020

Halifax Water Lead Pipe Replacement Proposal Begins Deliberations

Deliberations have begun on Halifax Water’s proposal to replace lead pipes free of charge

lead in water

Halifax Water’s proposal to replace lead pipes on private property, free of charge, is facing its first round of deliberation at the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB).

Board members pushed forward the $14 million plan in 2019 after an investigation published a history of failed lead tests from Halifax Water, according to Global News. This is due to lead service lines in aging public and residential infrastructure.

That same investigation found that nearly a quarter of a million homes on private wells in the province are at risk of lead contamination.

Hearings have been scheduled by NSURB to review the proposal between June 1 and June 5.

November 2019, board members from Halifax Water unanimously approved a suggestion to try and complete lead service line replacement on homes within its boundaries by 2039 or sooner, but this target has now been moved up to 2038, according to Halifax Water general manager Cathie O’Toole.

The water board voted in favour of replacing lead pipes and covering costs for customers, reported Global News.

By coordinating efforts to replace lead service lines with municipal paving projects, this would save approximately 30% in costs, according to the utility. This would minimize construction disruption to neighbourhoods as well.

The free-of-charge replacement also includes free lead sampling for homeowners considered at risk.

There are approximately 3,500 private and 2,500 public lead service lines to replace, totaling $38.5 million. 

The proposed start date is Jan. 1, 2021, pending NSURB approval, added Global News.

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