1. Why does the issue of lead levels in tap water continue to be discussed in Brandon?

Preliminary results from a Province of Manitoba study on lead concentrations in drinking water were shared with Brandon in late January of 2013 and indicate that, in some older Brandon homes where lead water service connections are present, lead concentration levels have been found to be in excess of current national drinking water guidelines, which is currently 0.005 milligrams per litre.

This information is being provided to the public to remind water users that lead water service connections continue to be in place in some areas of Brandon and to advise on the steps to be taken to reduce the chance of consuming drinking water with elevated lead levels. Children and unborn children are the most sensitive to lead exposure.

It is important to note that Brandon’s drinking water supply leaving the City’s water treatment plant continues to be safe and meets the provincial standards for lead concentrations. The issue noted above relates to older individual water service connections in older areas of Brandon. City water mains run underneath the streets and water service connections come out from the water main to each of the buildings on a street. The water service connection that runs from the water main underneath a street to the curb is the City’s responsibility, while the water service connection that continues from the curb into a property and up to its water meter is the property owner’s responsibility.

2. How do I know if my home could have a lead water service connection?

Homes built before 1950 are the most likely to have a lead service connection. You may wish to visit the City of Brandon’s Tax and Assessment Map to help determine the age of your home here. Based on the assumption that homes built prior to 1950 have the potential to have a lead water service connection, the City of Brandon has created a Potential Lead Water Service Connection Catchment Area Map.

The City of Brandon cannot confirm where underground lead services may or may not exist on private property. As such, this map should only be used as a guide to help Brandon property owners determine if they may be impacted by a lead water service connection. 

One way to determine if you have a lead service running from your property line into your home may first wish to check their water intake valve, which should be exposed at the point where their water service connects to their water meter. If the service line is greyish-silver in colour (as opposed to copper-coloured), it most likely is a lead service.

If you are unsure about whether you have a lead water service connection in your home, contact a certified plumber. Lead water service connections usually create the highest lead levels but older brass plumbing fixtures or leaded solder within the home may increase drinking water lead levels.


3. How do I know if my home’s tap water could have lead concentrations higher than the national guideline?

The City of Brandon urges individuals that the only definitive way to determine potentially elevated lead levels in drinking water is to undertake lead testing by a certified lab.

The City of Brandon is urging anyone who might be concerned about lead levels in their drinking water to take advantage of a volunteer sample testing program being administered by the City of Brandon, in partnership with ALS Environmental Labs of Winnipeg. (See details immediately below).


4. How do I test my tap water for lead concentration levels?

Any resident of the City of Brandon who is concerned or curious about lead concentrations in their tap water can participate in Brandon’s volunteer sample testing program.

Contact the Water Treatment Plant at 204-729-2190 or a.howe@brandon.ca to make arrangements.  City staff can come to your property and sample, or staff can drop off and pick up completed testing kits with instructions for you to do the sampling.

The City will ship the samples to ALS Environmental Labs for testing. When test results come in the City will send them to you. 

For more information on how to voluntarily have your drinking water tested for lead concentrations contact the Water Treatment Plant at 204-729-2190 or a.howe@brandon.ca


5. What is the cost of this lead concentration test?

Recording lead water quality results from samples taken from residences is a requirement of the City’s Provincial License to provide potable water; with that in mind, the City offers testing at no charge in a specific catchment area (link to map). 

All other Brandon residents outside of the catchment area who are curious or concerned about lead concentration levels in their water can sample at a cost of $45.  Please contact the Water Treatment Plant at 204-729-2190 or a.howe@brandon.ca to make arrangements.


6. How long will it take to get my results?

Once lab-tested sample results are returned to the City, water samples will be shipped into Winnipeg daily. Verified results from ALS Environmental Labs will then be sent back to the City of Brandon and forwarded to the homeowner by mail. It will take approximately 7-14 business days to receive the results.


7. What should I do if my test results come back showing elevated lead concentrations?

You can take steps to reduce lead levels at the drinking water tap by:

a.      Using cold water from the cold water tap for drinking and cooking.

b.      Cleaning the aerator regularly on taps used for drinking water to remove any particles that may be caught there.

c.      Avoiding drinking tap water that has been sitting in the lead service line or plumbing system for a long time (ex: overnight or during the workday).  Flush the toilet, take a shower or do a load of laundry first thing in the morning or after work to clear water from the service line; then run the tap until the water is cold to clear water from the plumbing.  Fill a container with cold fresh water and keep it in the fridge for drinking and cooking.

d.      If lead levels at the tap are above the national guideline of 0.005 mg/L, install a point-of-use treatment device that is NSF certified for lead removal on the tap used for drinking and cooking or use bottled water for drinking and cooking. More information about the City of Brandon Water Filter Rebate Program are available immediately below.

e.      All residents can take steps to reduce their exposure to lead at the drinking water tap regardless of whether they have a lead service line by following the above methods.


8. How can I apply for a water filter rebate through the City of Brandon's Water  Filter Rebate Program?

The City of Brandon will provide a one-time rebate of up to $100 to assist eligible property owners/occupants in the purchase of an NSF-certified water filter for lead removal. The program is open to all property owners/occupants who meet the following criteria: confirmation of a lead service connection; OR confirmation of test results that show lead at levels higher than national drinking water guidelines. For more information on how to apply for a rebate via the City of Brandon 2024 Water Filter Rebate Program, contact the City of Brandon's Lead Water Services Information Line directly at 204-729-2214, at engineering@brandon.ca, or by filling out the application below:

pdf 2024 Water Filter Rebate Program Information and Application (1.38 MB)


9. How can I work with the City of Brandon to replace my lead water service connection?

The City of Brandon currently offers a program through which it will provide coordinate and cost-share the replacement of lead water services with property owners. A reminder to all property owners that the City's financial responsibility is limited to the public right-of-way (from the water main to the property line). For more information about the program, call the City of Brandon’s Engineering Department at 204-729-2214.


Lead Water Quality Sampling