The city of Toronto has released data showing that a significant proportion of the tap water delivered to residents contains elevated levels of lead. The study, carried out by the Residential Lead Testing Program, is based on samples of drinking water collected from 13 percent of Toronto's households over the past six years.
City officials still claim that water delivered to residents is safe. According to Denzil Minnan-Wong, chair of Toronto Public Works, the problem originates from old lead pipelines that account for a significant proportion of Toronto's water system infrastructure. As some of the samples date back to 2008, the data may not be entirely accurate, he added.
Since 2011, the city of Toronto has been implementing a Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Strategy. The city has started replacing some of the oldest pipes and has taken other steps to improve the quality of drinking water, including adding phosphates to the treatment process. However, Minnan-Wong still encouraged residents to bring samples for tests if they were worried that lead levels in their tap water might be elevated, media reports said.
According to The Star, about 40,000 homes in the city rely on old lead pipes to have their water delivered, but this is just an estimate. Samples of water revealed that the highest levels of lead were detected in High Park, the Lawrence Park neighborhood, downtown south Annex and parts of East York.