Replacement of the lead pipe that delivers water to your home is the best way to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water.
Water service pipes are owned by the City and by the homeowner:
- The part that the City owns runs from the watermain on the street to the property line.
- The part that the homeowner owns runs from the property line into the home.
See a water service diagram to learn more.
Residents who commit to replacing their portion of the pipe can apply to have the City replace its side on a priority basis.
How the Program Works
Determine if Your Pipe is Lead
- Lead pipes affect homes built before the mid-1950s when drinking water pipes were commonly made of lead.
- A licensed plumber can confirm if your pipes are lead.
- You can also contact 311 to submit a service request to have staff check City records. This process may take up to 30 business days.
If the water service pipe is lead and you commit to replacing your side of the pipe, you can apply to have the City replace its side through one of two options:
- Contact the City’s contractor and arrange to have them replace your side of the pipe and the City’s side at the same time.
- The costs for replacing the private side of the pipe is the homeowner’s responsibility.
- You are encouraged to obtain several independent quotes before choosing a contractor.
- Complete and mail in the Application Form.
- You can hire your own contractor to replace your side of the pipe first. Once this is done, you can apply to have the City replace its side.
- Homeowners must complete the Application Form and attach proof that the private side has been replaced. This can be done by supplying an invoice from a contractor or licensed plumber, or a home inspector’s report verifying that the private side of the water pipe is not lead.
- Applications may take up to two weeks to process.
- You will receive a letter to confirm that the City-owned portion of the water service pipe is lead. If it is, you will first receive a faucet filter for lead removal in the mail that you can use right away.
- Following, you will receive a letter that outlines the construction schedule and contact information for the contractor completing the work.
Water Service Replacement
Once the application is approved, the City-owned portion of the water service pipe will be replaced within 12 weeks. See below for how the work is done and restored.
The City is not responsible for work completely on private property. Should you decide to use the City’s contractor to replace the private portion of your pipe, please discuss the details with them directly.
Replacement of the City’s water service
- The contractor will dig two access pits: one at the watermain (in the street) and one at the property line.
- Generally, the service is installed between the two pits using a trench-less method (torpedo technique).
- The contractor will not need to enter your home to replace the City’s portion of the water service.
Restoration following replacement
- You will be asked to remove any decorative or landscaping features located within City property.
- Interlocking bricks, flagstone, or other similar features may be removed by the contractor. These will be replaced during restoration.
- The contractor will also temporarily restore any concrete or asphalt. Permanent restoration will be made by Transportation Services within 18 to 24 months.
- Sod and/or lawn seeding with be laid during ideal growing season – in the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October). We ask that you water the sod/seeding regularly to ensure proper growth.
From time-to-time, replacement can be delayed due to:
- Unfavourable weather
- Scheduling issues between the homeowner and contractor
- An increase in the number of applications
- Time needed to learn the location of underground utilities (i.e. gas, hydro), which is required in order for crews to dig safely
If it has been 12 weeks or longer and you have questions about your water service replacement, please contact the contractor listed in your acceptance letter.