The city of Portage la Prairie will be collecting samples of potable water to check for lead.

The Province of Manitoba’s Office of Drinking Water, along with Public Health, is requiring any city with more than 10,000 residents to partake in the testing. Karly Friesen, director of utility for the city, says the city is required to collect and test samples from 40 residential locations.

“If there are residents that know they have lead service lines or suspect they might and they'd like to know what sort of lead levels they have in their home,” explains Friesen. “We're hoping they'll reach out to us and volunteer to have those samples taken from their home.”

The majority of the samples will need to come from houses built before 1975, but preferably before 1950, as there’s more chance for these water lines to contain traces of lead.

“We test from 8 locations around the city on a quarterly basis,” says Friesen. “This is an expansion of that program so that we're capturing more hoses and hopefully it's an opportunity for homeowners to learn there are ways to mitigate it too.”

The provincial standard for lead in drinking water is below 0.005 milligrams per litre. While the water from the city’s water treatment plant meets the standard, lead can seep into drinking water as it passes through partially corroded pipes.

If you’re interested in having your water sampled for traces of lead, you’ll be provided water testing kits and instructions, which will be delivered to your home.