Halifax Water wants to speed up lead pipe replacements

Halifax Water wants to speed up lead pipe replacements

Halifax Water said it wants to work with the municipality to speed up the replacement of lead pipes.

The general manager of the utility told regional council on Tuesday that there are still 2,000 public water pipes made of lead and up to 10,000 more that are privately owned.

"Lead is a significant health issue particularly for young children and pregnant women," said Carl Yates. "But laterals built before 1960 contain lead."

30 years to replace

Halifax Water estimates it could take 30 years to replace all of them.

Many homeowners are unable to pay for the part of the pipe they are responsible for and the water utility no longer does partial replacements.

"Our research has shown us that partial replacement can in the short term actually cause worse health outcomes," said Yates.

Financial incentives

Halifax Water would like to offer incentives but needs permission from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board.

Officials are also working with the Halifax region to create a repayment plan similar to the Solar City program where homeowners could spread out the cost of solar panels over a number of years.

Several councillors supported both those ideas.

"I hope the URB gives you the permission to offer financial incentives," said Sam Austin. "And I hope on our end we can work out a Solar City type of arrangement."