Using a NSF-053 certified, faucet-mounted filter is an effective temporary solution to remove lead in tap water. The Faucet Filter Program has two components to help eligible residents obtain a certified filter: distribution of a free, one-time NFS-053 certified faucet filter; and a faucet filter rebate program for qualified residents.

1. Faucet filter distribution:
A one-time, free NSF-053 certified faucet filter for lead removal will be given to homes along with an important public health information detailing steps that must be taken BEFORE using faucet filter. This is distributed:

  • Following the capital replacement of the City-owned section of the lead water service that supplies water to the home;
  • Immediately following any unplanned, emergency replacement of the City-owned portion of a lead water service; and
  • Starting February 1, 2015, a free faucet filter is mailed out to residents once their application to the Priority Lead Water Service Replacement Program is accepted.

2. Faucet Filter Rebate Program (FFRB):

  • An annual $100 rebate for the purchase of a NSF-053 certified faucet-mounted filter is available to low income residents with children under 6 years of age and/or a pregnant individual occupying the home; and
  • The home is a single family, duplex or triplex building; and
  • The annual household income is less than $50,000.

General information:

  • There are an estimated 34,000 lead water services remaining in the City of Toronto, mostly in former City of Toronto, East York, York and south parts of Etobicoke and Scarborough.
  • Homes constructed before the mid-1950s may have lead water services, unless they have already been replaced.
  • A licensed plumber or home inspector can determine if a home has a lead water service.
  • The City will replace an individual City-owned water service on a priority basis if the following criteria are met: the service connection is lead AND the homeowner has replaced or made arrangements to replace the private-portion of the service. Note: The homeowner will need to provide a contractor invoice showing the private side has been replaced or a signed agreement from the City's contractor.
  • The City will replace an individual water service on an emergency basis if the service is leaking or broken OR does not provide a flow of 7 litres per minute (measured at the meter or closest faucet to the entry point of service).
  • Low flow/low pressure tests can be arranged through the 311 call centre. Homeowners are required to have a water meter already installed. If the low flow test result is above 7 litres per minute and the homeowner still wishes to replace the City-side of the water service, or if a homeowner wishes to replace their connection for another reason (such as upsizing, galvanized metal service), the homeowner may elect to pay for the City-side of their service to be upgraded at their sole cost.
  • Homeowners can apply and pay for a new water service (or a replacement) by visiting the Toronto Water service counter at North York Civic Centre.
  • A lead test result above the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MOECP) limit is no longer necessary to receive a priority service replacement, but the City does still offer lead test, if a resident wants it. See Q2 of Sub-category Lead Testing for details.
  • The City of Toronto website offers information on the Water Service Replacement Program (including lead water service) capital schedule and general information about lead in drinking water and related health information.
  • The scheduled Capital Water Service Replacement Program is prioritized based on coordination with other construction programs (such as watermain, sewer and road construction), watermain age and condition and number of water services.
  • Homeowners will receive advance notice of any planned capital water service replacement activities so they can coordinate any possible private-side lead service replacement.
  • There is no requirement to apply for the planned capital Water Service Replacement Program.
  • Homeowners can apply to qualify for priority lead water service replacement by contacting 311 or by viewing Priority Lead Water Service Replacement Program information.

Faucet Filter Rebate Program
The Faucet Filter Rebate Program provides qualifying residents with an annual maximum $100 rebate for the purchase of an NSF/ANSI-053 faucet-mounted replacement cartridges certified by the National Sanitation Foundation. The goal of the rebate is to assist vulnerable residents in reducing the potential harmful health impacts from elevated lead levels in drinking water.

Faucet Filter Rebate Program eligibility and qualifications
The annual maximum $100 rebate is available for a faucet-mounted filter and/or replacement cartridges until the full implementation of the Corrosion Control Plan for any residents that meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  • Have a child under six years old, or a pregnant woman living in the home;
  • Reside in a single family, duplex or triplex home;
  • Earn a total combined annual household income of less than $50,000; and
  • Have the City portion of their water service composed of lead.

Applying for a faucet filter rebate
Eligible residents who have purchased an approved filter and/or replacement cartridges on or after May 1, 2009 are eligible for the rebate. Applicants will be requested to complete an application form, and submit along with an original sales receipt and a copy of the most recent Canada Revenue Agency Notice of Assessment of all household members. 

Download the Faucet Filter Rebate Program Application.

Issuing the faucet filter rebate

For the annual $100 rebate, Toronto Water will issue a cheque that will be mailed out to the applicant. Homeowners will need to make a new application and qualify each year to receive the rebate.

Free faucet filter distribution to residents 
The Faucet Filter Program will provide a one-time free NSF-053 certified, faucet-mounted lead removal filter and information kit to ALL residents immediately following any planned capital construction or unplanned replacement (i.e. emergency situation) of the City-owned portion of a lead water service; and starting February 1, 2015, a faucet filter is mailed out to residents once their application to the Priority Lead Water Service Replacement Program is accepted. 

This filter is intended to mitigate the temporary, but significant spike in lead levels that can occur immediately after the water service replacement work has taken place. This spike typically recedes within a few months or sooner, therefore the use of a filter is recommended for approximately three months.

This filter is independent from the $100 rebate program.

Water service was replaced and filter was not left behind
Homeowners can request one by email: if:

  • the City-owned portion of their water service was replaced on or after June 30, 2011 and they did not receive a filter
  • Starting February 1, 2015, a faucet filter is mailed out to residents once their application to the Priority Lead Water Service Replacement Program is accepted into the program
  • Staff will review their request to ensure a faucet filter was delivered.  If necessary, a filter will be delivered to homeowner as soon as possible.

Purchasing an approved faucet filter
Approved faucet-mounted filters are available at most major local retailers. Look for the NSF/ANSI-53 certification logo and lead removal information on the packaging. Rebates will only be issued on NSF-approved filters and replacement cartridges.