Sarnia Lead Reduction Program

The City of Sarnia’s drinking water is transported through the municipal watermain below the street, which then connects to smaller underground pipes that bring the drinking water into your home (also known as water service lines).

In certain parts of the City, these water service lines are made of lead which poses a threat to the vulnerable public (i.e. small children, pregnant women, women who are planning to become pregnant, as well as the elderly). Excessive exposure to lead can lead to health effects.

Free Lead Water Sampling Program

The City of Sarnia has successfully completed the free lead water sampling program in 2022. The Lead Program was successful in collecting water samples from properties in the primary and secondary lead zones. After three years the lead water sampling has concluded, although many attempts have been made to contact all residents in the lead zone, not all residents participated in the program. All outstanding residents in the lead zone are still able to have their water sampled for free if they contact the City of Sarnia Public Works Department.

Are you in the Suspected Lead Zone?

The map below indicates potential lead service areas in Sarnia.

The suspected lead zone is classified into the Primary Suspected Lead Zone and Secondary Suspected Lead Zone. The “Primary Zone” is bounded by Murphy Road and the St. Clair River (east to west) and Highway 402 to St. Andrew St (north to south). The Secondary Zone includes properties by Lakeshore Road, Exmouth St and London Line as shown on the map.

If your home is in the Lead Zone depicted on the map, call our office Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm to book your free verification visit!

Phone: 519-332-0330, extension 2220

Once you receive a notice requesting a sample for your property, a qualified City of Sarnia team will arrive at your home to collect the water sample from an outside tap. It is requested that all obstacles are removed before staff arrive. Since samples are collected at the outside tap it is not required for a homeowner/tenant to be home at the time of sampling.

NOTE: Even though the visible plumbing in your home doesn’t look like lead, the service lines underground may still be made of lead.

Filter Rebate Program

The City of Sarnia’s Lead Reduction Program is offering Water Filter Rebates to those who live/own a home serviced with lead service (see PDF labelled “Lead Reduction Filter Rebate Program” for more details).

Replacement Assistance Program

In order to assist homeowners to remove private lead service lines, the City launched a generous grant program in 2021. In this program, the City covers the full cost of replacing a lead water service line in private property with limited restoration costs and coordinates the work with an independent contractor on behalf of the property owners. The property owner is required to take care of any additional restoration work and costs. In the case of a combined lead service line, the contractor will remove the municipal lead service at the same time. The program is retroactive to benefit the homeowners who have proactively replaced lead lines after January 1, 2019 until November 30, 2023 (see PDF labelled “Lead Replacement Assistance Program” for more details).

2022 Program Summary

In 2022, the Lead Reduction Program was able to gain information on properties in the suspected lead zones through water sampling and exploratory excavations. The free water sampling program results have confirmed that less than 2% of the total houses exceeded the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Standard of 10 micrograms per liter. The City was unable to collect a water sample from 83 properties due to residents opting out or no responses received. These properties will have a note on their tax certificate stating the presence of a possible lead water service line.

2022 was a successful year for the Lead Reduction Program, the City managed to complete forty-six (46) private lead water service line replacements and twenty (20) municipal lead water service line replacements.

To continue the successful progress of the Lead Reduction Program, the goal for 2023 is to complete remaining water service line explorations, perform replacements on fifty-three (53) private lead water service lines and forty (40) municipal lead water service lines. The Lead Reduction Program will continue to contact and encourage eligible residents to participate in the replacement assistance program.

In 2023, the City will monitor the effectiveness of the program through post-replacement sampling. This post-replacement sampling program will continue and will remain effective for all lead service line (LSL) replacements coordinated/ completed by the City. Starting in 2023, the City will collect four (4) water samples in the Spring (May to June) and four (4) water samples in the Fall (September to November) from different residential properties outside of the Lead Zone to monitor and confirm that the water supply system is lead free. All the results will be documented for reference and analysis.

The goal for 2022 is to collect samples from the remaining properties and encourage eligible homeowners to participate and remove remaining lead service lines through the replacement assistance program.