Water Safety

Minimizing Exposure to Lead from Drinking Water Distribution Systems

There have been some concerns about lead in the drinking water distribution systems. Read Health Canada's Water Talk (PDF): Minimizing Exposure to Lead from Drinking Water Distribution Systems.

  • Anytime the water in a particular faucet has not been used for six hours or longer, "flush" your cold-water pipes by running the water until you notice a change in temperature. (This could take as little as five to thirty seconds if there has been recent heavy water use such as showering or toilet flushing. Otherwise, it could take two minutes or longer.) The more time water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain.
  • Use only water from the cold-tap for drinking, cooking, and especially making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead.

The two actions recommended are very important to the health of your family. They will probably be effective in reducing lead levels because most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply. Conserving water is still important. Rather than just running the water down the drain you could use the water for things such as watering your plants.

Questions & Concerns

If you have any further concerns relating to lead in the water distribution system please contact the Engineering and Municipal Operation Department at 604-541-2181 or email the Water Department.

Arsenic in Drinking Water

Arsenic is a naturally occurring metal found in mineral deposits or rocks throughout the Earth’s crust. Arsenic may enter the underground water sources when rocks containing arsenic dissolve.

For more information about arsenic in drinking water, please visit Health Canada's website. or view Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality: Guideline Technical (PDF).

White Rock Water's Secondary Treatment

As part of its acquisition and operation of the water utility, the City is under mandate by the Fraser Health Authority to implement a secondary form of water disinfection. The work is necessary to treat the water supply and upgrade critical infrastructure in the White Rock system, and is a part of the City’s commitment to implement the Total Water Quality Management (TWQM) Project.

The TWQM Project will add disinfection, infrastructure renewal, storage capacity upgrades and a modest level of system expansion for future growth. The City must treat the drinking water with an acceptable secondary treatment by February 1, 2017 as a condition of our operating permit from the Fraser Health Authority.

Common Household Water Quality Problems

Cloudy water from only one faucet? It may be the plumbing. If water is cloudy when you only run the hot water, it may be the water heater. Contact the manufacturer for more information. Hot and cold water could indicate corrosion in the plumbing or water supply. To clear the lines, try running cold water for a few minutes. Always use cold water so you don’t draw dirty or rusty water into the hot water tank. If the water does not clear, contact the Engineering and Municipal Operations Department at 604-541-2181 or email the Water Department.

  • Black particles in your water? This may mean that the City is flushing the water mains in your area. Please contact the Engineering and Municipal Operations department for more information.
  • Gray or white particles floating in your water? Floating gray and white particles in your water may be a disintegrating dip tube in your water heater. A dip tube is a tube inside a water heater that distributes the cold water into the lower area of the water heater.
  • Gray or white sinking particles sinking in your water? It may be calcium carbonate in your water heater. You should refer to your water heater manual or contact the manufacturer for more information.

If the City is not flushing in your area that may indicate an issue with the faucets in your home. The problem could be corrosion in the pipes, or the screens may need to be cleaned. If black particles are only coming from the cold water, it may be the main line and it needs to be flushed.

Household Water Tips

  • Hot Water: Do not drink or cook with hot water from the faucet. Hot water systems (heaters, boilers) contain metallic parts that can corrode over time. The metals (lead and copper) could dissolve in hot water and leach through water lines and faucets.
  • Pink Growth: If you spot a pink growth or stain on your bathroom fixtures, it is usually a mold or bacterium. Try regular cleanings with bleach or mildew removers.