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Environment and Conservation
July 16, 2009

Corrosion Study of Drinking Water Shows Good Results

The Provincial Government today released the results of a 2009 pilot study to determine the extent of corrosion in public water supplies in Newfoundland and Labrador. Based on the findings, it is concluded that corrosion is not a major issue in most of Newfoundland and Labrador�s water supplies. Key findings show that only three per cent of samples taken were above the recommended guidance for lead as a corrosion indicator. All those who participated in the pilot study were notified as soon as the results were available.

The key objective of the study was to determine the extent to which corrosion may affect plumbing systems in homes and public buildings in the province. A total of 352 samples were taken throughout the province. The study was also used to determine the feasibility of specialized lead monitoring procedures in measuring the corrosive potential of municipal water supplies, rather than the standard lead monitoring procedures. In the study, lead was used as the indicator of corrosion, and the sampling procedures focused on the concentrations of lead only. Public water supplies in the province are routinely tested for pH, lead and all other metals.

�We remain the only province that directly undertakes drinking water quality monitoring and reporting of all its public water supplies, and we are pleased to provide the results of any studies we undertake,� said the Honourable Charlene Johnson, Minister of Environment and Conservation. �Based on the review of available information, lead soldering and older brass faucets and fixtures in residential homes may be the probable cause of elevated levels of lead in some residences.�

Communities with concerns regarding the possibility of corrosion in their water supply systems can utilize the sampling procedures used in the study to determine if corrosion is an issue. Communities with corrosion potential can advise residents to flush their lines before using water for drinking purposes, in order to avoid any exposure to elevated lead concentrations. If there are additional concerns, a National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) approved filter can be used to remove any lead that may be in the waterlines.

Throughout the summer, government officials will be re-testing areas that exceeded the lead guidelines in the pilot study. This will determine if flushing of the lines will eliminate the lead in drinking water.

�The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the most widely adopted and well-established source water protection programs in the country,� said Minister Johnson. �As of April 2008, 91 per cent of the people in our province who use public water receive it from a protected source. We are dedicated to ensuring that we adhere to the highest standards for drinking water quality and safety, as well as making this information available to the public.�

The study, Pilot Study to Develop Action Plan on Indicators for Monitoring Corrosion Control in Drinking Water is available at

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Media contact:
Tina Coffey
Public Relations Specialist
Department of Environment and Conservation
709-729-5783, 728-8650

2009 07 16                               1:00 p.m.

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