Years after they were deemed unsafe, lead lines the water pipes leading to many homes and businesses in Regina’s older neighbourhoods.
Local organizer Florence Stratton is part of a committee circulating petitions asking the city to remove and replace the pipes much quicker than they are currently doing.
“It was delivered to most of the residences in Cathedral, and we’re trying to get it out everywhere in the city,” said Stratton.
The concern, Stratton said, is for health. Children of all ages, but particularly those under the age of 6, absorb lead faster than adults and are at a greater risk of health problems. Paint and gasoline have been banned in Canada for decades but lead from water or paint and dust in older homes can pass from a mother to her unborn baby.
About 3,300 Regina residences have lead water service connections owned by the city. Also, there are still between 7,000 and 8,000 residential lines owned by homeowners and property owners.
Regina City council has delayed the replacement of lead water lines from 5 years to 15. Stratton’s own water pipe replacement last year cost her $6,000.
“I know the issue is cost, but if you think of the cost to … children’s intelligence and general health as well as adults, too, the lead needs to be got out as soon as possible,” said Stratton. She’s hopeful the city can find a way to help with the costs for people to get rid of it on their side if they can’t afford it themselves.
Stratton said they have 170 signatures already and hope to have a lot more in the coming weeks and months.
“Get the lead out, now and think about what is happening in the city,” she said. “Particularly those who live in low-income families who can’t do it themselves.”
Of the areas with the pipes that need replacement, Cathedral has 21 per cent, Heritage has 20 per cent and old Lakeview has 17 per cent.