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Mayor wants to get rid of lead pipes in Regina by 2025

The mayor of Regina, Michael Fougere, wants to replace all the lead pipes that carry contaminated water to people's homes within six years.

Fougere will submit a motion notice to the council on Monday in hopes of discussing improvements to the existing Main Service Connection Management Program.

"We need to do the job and we must do that job," Fougere said Friday.

While 95 percent of the water supply in Regina does not contain lead, about 5 percent is transported through lead service lines. A Global News investigation in association with other media outlets revealed Regina water samples analyzed in some of the highest lead measurements in the country.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan residents have some of the highest levels of lead contaminated water in Canada

In addition to accelerating efforts to exchange lead connections in municipal infrastructure, the mayor wants to look for options to help homeowners do the same, potentially through payment or cost-sharing plans.

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"We are analyzing best practices to see what is the best method to do this," Fougere said.

The city is on its way to replacing 160 lead service lines by the end of the year. At that rate, it would take about 22 years to fix the 3,600 lead connections across Regina.

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The mayor wants to complete them all by 2025, which would mean replacing 600 per year.

The average cost of replacing a lead connection is between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000, city staff said in an email.

Fougere is also interested in learning more about adding a non-toxic chemical, orthophosphate, to the city's water supply at the water treatment plant. Other cities with lead pipes, for example, Toronto, already do so for corrosion control and have lower levels of contaminated water.

He said that if it is an effective and practical method for Regina, he wants to see it used with the replacements that are being completed.

The city has budgeted approximately $ 400,000 in 2020 and 2021 to test a corrosion control plan, city staff said in an email.

The improvements proposed by the mayor would also include extending the time that residents with contaminated water are entitled to free filters from one year to three years.

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The mayor's motion, if successful, would result in a detailed report in the spring that would answer the outstanding questions, including how much it would cost to implement these changes in the existing Lead Services Connection Management Program.

READ MORE: City of Regina says it plans to accelerate the lead service replacement program

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Fougere said he recognizes that it will be expensive.

The city has allocated $ 10 million in the five-year capital plan.

"We are seeing public safety, public health," Fougere said.

Unanimous consent is required to discuss the motion notice at Monday's council meeting.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/6207558/mayor-wants-to-get-rid-of-lead-pipes-in-regina-by-2025/

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