Tap water. (turk_stock_photographer/ iStock / Getty Images Plus via Getty Images)

Essex mayor wants to eradicate lead pipes

Sherry Bondy wants to know exactly how many lead pipes lie beneath the Town of Essex.

She said the last time the town replaced one was in 2013. However, considering the risk lead in drinking water can present to human health, the Mayor of Essex considers one too many.

She plans to ask the town council on Monday night to embark on a study to count how many are left, make a plan to replace them, find out if there's any funding available from senior governments, and educate the public.

Bondy sits on multiple municipal water boards and the Ontario Municipal Water Association.

"We're working to lobby the provincial government to drop the amount of lead allowed in water systems, and I really want to take an approach of zero tolerance for having lead in our drinking water," she said.

The ill effects of lead in drinking water are widely known to impact the I.Q. of children and cause mental and physical health problems. In 2016, a state of emergency was declared in Flint after 100,000 residents, including as many as 12,000 children, were exposed to lead in their tap water.

"It's really not good for your system," said Bondy. "I'm particularly concerned for children, for expectant mothers, and this is one of those things where if you know better, you do better."

Health Canada recommends no more than 5 ug/L of lead in drinking water, but in many parts of Ontario, it's twice that.

Bondy said it's been years since the town investigated lead in its water supply.

"In 2008, the provincial government had us do lead testing, and the Town of Essex had approximately 250 houses tested," she said. "They had six positives."

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