WATER NEWS

World Water Day – March 22, 2018: The Answer is in Nature

March 6th, 2018

March 22 is World Water Day. Each year this global event focuses on a specific aspect of our relationship with water. The theme for World Water Day 2018 is :... More »

Asbestos in Drinking Water

During the 1960’s and 70’s it was common practice in North America to use asbestos/cement pipe for city water mains as an alternative to metal pipe, which is easily corroded by acidic water. However, it turns out that asbestos/cement pipe doesn’t stand up well over time and much of it has since been, or is being, replaced.

The Metro Vancouver Water District supplies water to 18 municipalities in the Greater Vancouver area. It tests for the presence of asbestos in our source water that comes from snow melt and rain runoff collected in the Capilano, Seymour and Coquitlam reservoirs. This water is then purchased by member municipalities that construct and maintain the piping system that delivers water to your tap.

Although the City of Vancouver’s Water Design Branch says there is “no known asbestos pipe in our (Vancouver’s) water system”, other municipalities within Metro Vancouver may still be supplying some water through asbestos/cement pipe.

Metro Vancouver municipalities do not test for the presence of asbestos in our water supply because Health Canada has deemed asbestos fibres safe for ingestion, despite the fact that the inhalation of these fibres is known to be highly carcenogenic. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency takes a more cautious position.

For those of us who do not share this confidence in the credulity of Health Canada, there are affordable water treatment systems certified for asbestos reduction.

NSF International lists cancer as a potential health effect of ingesting water containing asbestos fibres. According to a source at their Drinking Water Treatment Unit, “asbestos fibers are at least 10 microns in length, and are typically approximately 3 microns in diameter”. Consequently, a drinking water filter with an absolute micron size of one (1), or smaller, should intercept any asbestos fibres in your water supply.