Landlords tapped to act on lead water pipes

A Toronto city councillor is calling for more due diligence and disclosure regarding old lead water pipes through proposed new obligations for owners of small apartment buildings. In a recent motion, councillor Dianne Saxe points out that some municipal lead water pipes are still in place, serving more than 20,000 homes, and that there are likely even more private lead pipes running from the city's service line into older buildings.

The motion, which has been submitted to Toronto City Council's Planning and Housing Committee for consideration, calls for a new lead poisoning prevention bylaw that specifically targets landlords of buildings with six or fewer units built before 1950. If approved by City Council, city staff will be directed to study the feasibility of requiring certain landlords to determine whether their buildings contain one or more lead water pipes and where they are located in order to:

  • to disclose the information to tenants; and
  • Either replace the pipe or provide tenants with an NSF-053 certified filter and subsequent replacement cartridges.

“The City of Toronto has taken important steps to eliminate lead pipes through the Priority Lead Water Service Replacement Program and the Capital Water Service Replacement Program. However, landlords are not currently required to replace dangerous lead pipes on their properties, nor to inform potentially at-risk tenants of their presence,” Saxe's motion states. “Tenants must not be left in the dark.”

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