Ville de Gatineau
Lead in the water
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Lead in the water
Lead in the water

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In Gatineau, drinking water distributed through the water supply system is of excellent quality, surpassing the Government of Quebec's requirements under the Regulation respecting the quality of drinking water.

Gatineau does not have any lead watermains in its territory. However, there are somewhere between 2,000 and 4,000 houses that were built before 1960 which have lead service lines. The service lines connecting those houses to the municipal mains, and their plumbing are entirely or partly lead. When lead comes in contact with water, it dissolves. Thus, the water in those houses may contain higher concentrations of lead.

Gatineau samples drinking water as set out in the Government of Quebec's Guide d'évaluation et d'intervention relatif au suivi de plomb et de cuivre dans l'eau potable. Sampling is done every year, between July 1 and October 1, in accordance with the Regulation.

How do I find out whether the pipes in my house are lead?

The pipe in your house is lead if the water inlet valve:

  • is grey;
  • does not echo when you tap it;
  • leaves metallic marks when you scratch it; and
  • does not attract magnets.

If you cannot check for these indicators, contact the owner of your property or a plumber.

Replacing pipes

The only way to reduce the concentration of lead in water is to replace the infrastructures on both the residential and municipal sides.

If you decide to replace your portion of the lead water line, Gatineau will do the same on the municipal side.

In addition, when Gatineau works on water supply systems containing lead, it automatically replaces them with lines that meet current standards. It will inform the neighbouring residents so that they can take advantage of the intervention to replace their own lead lines.


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Some recommendations if you have a lead supply line

  • As a preventive measure, if the water has been in the pipes for a few hours, let it run for about three minutes before drinking it. The usual morning activities, such as taking a shower and flushing the toilet, will empty your reservoir enough so that you will not need to run the tap.
  • Use only the water from the cold water tap for drinking and cooking because hot water, which has been sitting in the water heater, is more likely to contain traces of lead.
  • In order to avoid as much as possible wasting drinking water, it is highly recommended that you fill a container with cold water and store it in the refrigerator. That water can then be consumed (drinking and cooking).
  • A filtration system, either a jug or a system attached to the tap or under the sink can be an effective way to reduce lead. Only those with an NSF/ANSI no 53 standard label on the filters and specifically designated for lead reduction will work.
  • Bottled water remains an option, particularly for commercial reconstituted milk formulas for infants.
  • Boiling the water will not reduce the lead concentration.

For additional information

You can also contact the Direction de la santé publique de l'Outaouais at 819 966-6484.

About Gatineau

Recognized for its quality of life, Gatineau is a city of 285,000 inhabitants. It is located on the north shore of the Ottawa River, and extends east and west of the Gatineau River.

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