News | August 18, 2021

Mackenzie County is launching a lead testing program for Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP) regulated water systems in the Hamlets of Fort Vermilion, La Crete, and Zama City.

Through the month of September 2021, Mackenzie County will launch a lead testing program, to ensure residents have safe drinking water in their homes. This program is in response to updated guidelines put forth by the federal government, which lowers the maximum acceptable concentration of lead from 0.010 mg/L to 0.005 mg/L with the point of compliance being the resident’s tap.

The first step is to identify areas of the highest risk. Buildings that were constructed before 1960 are the first priority for testing. Building codes at that time allowed the use of lead piping for home water services, as well as plumbing solder and brass fittings with high lead content. These are the primary sources of lead contamination in drinking water.

Mackenzie County Utilities staff will be conducting lead testing through the month of September 2021. To accomplish this, they will be selecting a percentage of residences that have a higher chance of lead service lines based on construction date.

Letters will be sent to homeowners advising of this and setting up a date/time for County staff to test the tap for lead. It is important to note that results will be kept confidential. The individual results of testing will only be released to you, the homeowner, and Alberta Environment & Parks (AEP). A letter of consent must be signed to release information to AEP.

Why is Mackenzie County only testing in AEP regulated systems?

At this time, only homes within municipal water systems under the jurisdiction of Alberta Environment will be tested. Farm water wells and small systems under the jurisdiction of Alberta Health Services (AHS) will not be sampled by Mackenzie County. Farms or small system owners that wish to test lead content would be responsible for their own testing. However, Mackenzie County can assist ratepayers who are concerned about their water quality or who require information in testing their homes for lead.

Have more questions about lead testing? See a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

For additional information, please contact:

Jenna Schmidt, Administrative Officer (Utilities)
Phone: 780-928-3983