The Lead Pipe Replacement Program provides support to eligible residents with the replacement of the public and private portions of a residential property’s lead service pipe.
Provided below are answers to common questions about the Lead Pipe Replacement Program.
If you have further questions about the program, please contact 3-1-1.
What is a water service pipe?
A water service pipe connects a building to the City’s municipal water supply. Property owners are responsible for the pipe up to their property line and the City owns and maintains the pipe from the property line to the water main.
How can I tell if I have a lead service pipe?
If your home was built after 1955, you do not have a lead service pipe. For older homes, the best way to determine if a service pipe is lead or copper is to scratch the service pipe with sandpaper to expose bare metal.
The only visible portion of the pipe is 50 cm in length, located between your basement’s concrete floor and the water meter. Lead pipes are dull grey in colour and are easily scratched by a hard object. Copper pipes are red-brown and corroded portions may show a green deposit.
Residents can call 3-1-1 to request a water quality test.
For more information on lead and drinking water, please consult our frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Further information is also available from Drinking Water Ontario.
How can I apply to the Lead Pipe Replacement Program?
Property owners interested in lead service replacement must contact the City of Ottawa at 3-1-1 to apply for the program.
Please note: Families with children under the age of six and pregnant women are given priority for service replacement.
After receiving an application, the City takes the following action:
The City reviews construction history, water main data and property information related to the service address to determine the likelihood that the City portion of the water service pipe is made from lead. The City will contact applicants by phone to advise them of their eligibility for the program.
A home inspection will be scheduled to verify the presence of lead and to provide the property owner with an estimate of the replacement cost of the lead water service pipe.
Property owner commitment
Once eligibility is established, the property owner will be required to sign an agreement directing the City to proceed with the work. Property owners are given two weeks to commit to the program. Should the property owner not respond within two weeks, the opportunity for service replacement would be offered to another property owner.
What is the cost to the homeowner?
The full cost for replacing the water service from the water main to the water meter (including the City’s cost) generally ranges from $6,000 to $10,000. The cost to the property owner is generally between $2,500 to $5,000.
These estimates do not include the removal and salvage of items such as furniture and fixtures, gardens, landscaping, decks, porches and interior work or finishes and the repair or replacement of these items upon the completion of the water service replacement. The homeowner is responsible for these costs.
How do I pay?
The City offers three payment options:
- Full payment at the time of the work
- Financing over five (5) years
- Financing over ten (10) years
If the property owner finances the work through the City, the payment will be added to the property tax bill. The interest rate will be the City's debenture rate at the time of the debenture issuance. The exact rate will only be known a few weeks after the work is completed. The City's debenture rate is usually slightly higher than financial institution personal loan rates.
How do I know if I qualify for the program?
The following criteria is used to determine whether an applicant qualifies for the program:
- The owner of the property must apply.
- The City portion of the water service must be lead.
- The property owner must agree to pay for the portion of the service replaced on their property.
If an area is scheduled for the City’s water main replacement program within the next two years, replacement of the water service pipe will be delayed to correspond with this construction activity.
How will the City prioritize the request to participate?
The City of Ottawa reserves the right to prioritize applications from families with children less than six years of age or households with pregnant women. Remaining applications are completed on a first come, first served basis.
Should I also replace my sewer pipe?
Before the replacement of the lead service, the City will proceed with an inspection of the sewer pipe. If the sewer pipe is not in good condition, City staff and the property owner will discuss possible solutions on a case-by-case basis.
Can I withdraw from the program?
The property owner may withdraw from the program at any time. There is no charge for the initial site visit and pipe inspection. If the property owner has signed an agreement and wishes to withdraw, they will be charged an administration fee plus the cost of any completed work on their property.
I already applied for the program. When will I be contacted for an appointment?
Property owners eligible for replacement will receive a phone call from the City prior to the construction season to provide a date when their water service will be replaced. Waiting times vary depending on the homeowner’s priority for replacement and the time and date of their application.
I applied for service replacement last year but I have not received a notice for an onsite inspection. Should I reapply for the program?
No. Your application will remain on file and there is no need to reapply for the program if you already applied for the program.