High lead content in the water of Montreal
So I, like 75,000 other households in Montreal(actually my business is in Montreal), received letters recently notifying us that our tap water contained levels of lead higher than the acceptable provincial standard. The letters were aimed at pregnant women and parents of children under 6 years of age in particular as this was bolded and printed in large letters.
My first beef, was that the letter was entirely in French. Now, don't get me wrong. I read, speak, understand, and function in French everyday even though it's just one of three languages that I have to juggle between. But for other citizens of Montreal, allophones or anglophones, how were they supposed to know what this letter was about? It was addressed to the "occupant" and I nearly discarded it, thinking that it was just another piece of unwanted junk mail that I get by the bac-loads every week. The letter has one line at the bottom saying that an english version is available on request. Montreal being a bilingual city, and this notice being of such gravity, you would think that the administration could send out a bilingual notice.
Beef no.2, if as reported in the media, this problem is not really as serious as it sounds, why send letters to 75,000 households and create the mass hysteria? The city is saying that lead levels under the old provincial standards would have been acceptable but not with the new lowered standards. Yet they do not foresee replacing city pipes completely until 2026 and until then, we should all just drink filtered water. Um.... is this supposed to make me feel reassured in some way? I'm presuming it's not a great idea to wash my fresh produce with tap water or brush my teeth with it in that case. So you're telling me that the water quality is sub-par but that I should just live with it as best as I can and keep accumulating low levels of lead in my body until the year 2026. Yeah, right. I feel much better now. What was the purpose of this letter? I just don't get it.
Beef no. 3, if everyone is now running out and buying filters and bottled water like there's no tomorrow, what is the city administration doing to compensate people? That adds up to a lot of filters from now until 2026 if I have to replace them every 3 months. I keep hearing about how the city is going to offer a "deal" to homeowners who want to replace their home pipes at the same time that the city replaces the city pipes. But why is this information so vague? How much money are people going to have to put aside to deal with this? Show me the money I say! I've heard rumors of a class action law suit against the city being filed...Maybe it's time to "parcavenue" the city. Again.
Last edited by Love big tits; 03-11-2007 at 05:39 PM.
Of course the whole thing is idiotic: this is Montreal's great civic administration, previously famous for the Parc Avenue Boo-Boo and the attempt to get someone fired for having the chutzpah to say the city is dirty.
1-It's in French because Montreal is in Quebec. That's the way it is. If it would be in Toronto, it would be in English and, French version would not even be available.
They cover their ass, that's why it was mass-sent. Sending preadressed would have been way more expensive and not much useful.
2- The water entrance connection to older houses contain lead, not the pipes themself. Most are so old there's already a huge amount of oxidation preventing excessive release. Letting the water run for a few minutes before drinking, when the water didn't run for a while, like in the morning, get the lead amount way below tolerances. That's recommended anyhow, lead problems or not. Running the water a few minutes and then filling a pot you leave in the fridge gives you cold, lead-free water. That's what I do in Montreal, or I buy bottled water, because of the taste and odor the water sometimes has, not because of any lead-poisoning fear.
3- Buying filters is a personal option. They suggest filters if you're worried but the tap water is totally safe, except maybe for kids and pregnant womens so, the city won't compensate for filters or bottled water. If you're really worried, I suggest investing in a water test yourself, with a sample done after water is running 2-3 minutes. This should reassure you.
4- The deal they talk about is to replace the pipe between the main and the house, I don't think it includes within the house. They talk about a deal because the hole will already be almost done to the house and the pipe exposed. Last I checked at my place (4 years ago), for a bungalow, it was about $2000 for the hole, the pipe and labor, plus whatever finition like grass and flowers. The hole is expensive (getting crew and backo there is $$ before they even start digging) so, since City will already have the equipment there and have a big part of the hole done, you can probably cut price in half. I got lucky the leak was on the city's side so it was free on my case after all.
Or you can do like 99% of peoples who got this letter and ignore it. It will probably never haunt you back ever.