A Toronto councillor is asking the city to report all water testing results on its website amid a year-long investigation on lead content in municipal drinking water.
The motion, put forward by Coun. Anthony Perruzza, was approved by the Infrastructure and Environment committee Thursday and will be considered at the next City Council meeting on Nov. 26 for a final stamp of approval.
The issue of lead in drinking water is receiving increasing attention after an extensive, year-long study found that roughly one-third of water samples tested across Canada exceed the acceptable levels set by Health Canada.
The investigation, conducted by more than 120 journalists from nine universities and 10 media groups, including the Toronto Star, reviewed thousands of previously undisclosed results and tested water from hundreds of homes in 11 different cities.
The Toronto Star reported that historically Toronto’s lead levels were among the highest in Canada with half of tests exceeding the provincial lead standard in 2008, but the city soon began adding chemicals to the water to reduce corrosion in pipes. The newspaper reported that less than two per cent of samples exceed safe levels.
“News reports are worrisome. It’s important that our city takes the lead to make sure that our water is safe for Torontonians to use,” Perruzza said in a statement Thursday.
“We all need access to clean drinking water, and the City of Toronto is committed to doing the work to guarantee that.”
Perruzza’s motion asked the city to post public education material that can help residents asses the safety of their drinking water. He also asked that all drinking water results and other relevant information be reported to the next committee meeting for review.
An amendment to the motion by Coun. Mike Layton recommended that the general manager of the Toronto Water division report back at the next meeting on possible programs to help homeowners with funding to replace lead pipes on “the private side of connection.”
The amendment was approved Thursday at the meeting.