Toronto is a lucky city. Being on the edge of a great lake, its water supply is relatively safe, but constant steps are taken to ensure it’s of the highest quality and cleanliness. In fact, the city tests the water every six hours to ensure there’s no bacteria in the supply. But with all this diligence, many home owners can still experience water quality issues.

Toronto treats its water using two primary chemicals, chlorine and aluminum, which help keep the water at high standards for cleanliness. While chlorine may bring back memories of public pools, the water of which you would never drink, the treatment methods in Toronto’s water supply are quite different. Small amounts are used to control bacteria, algae and viruses present in the water, and at levels that are far below what could be considered even remotely dangerous to humans.

As for the aluminum, it’s actually a compound called aluminum sulphate that’s used to keep harmful micro-organisms and particles out of the supply. How it works is quite fascinating: the aluminum sulphate actually forces these particles and organisms to clump together into larger particles. From there, the water is filtered for these larger clumps and made much more drinkable.

Lead Water Pipes Still an Issue

While the city’s water supply is relatively lead-free, the same can’t be said for the water coming out of your taps. A report released a few years ago highlighted a problem many people already knew: Toronto has a real lead issue in many, many neighbourhoods. The problem is primarily in older homes and apartment complexes, where lead pipes and lead fixtures are still being used. These lead components to the plumbing systems can cause trace amounts of lead to seep into your water. And while lead in small quantities for adults may not lead to problems, lead contamination is a big issue for infants, children, teens, and pregnant women. If your home is on the older side, with a plumbing system that’s over 20 years old, you should get your water tested for lead. If it’s present, get a filter and contact a plumbing professional immediately.

As you can see, water supplies in Toronto are more than drinkable, but some people will notice that this doesn’t mean it’s always crisp and clear. During the summer months in particular, Toronto water can take on a distinct odour and taste thanks to an non-harmful amount of algae that can seep into the water supply. This algae is constantly monitored to ensure it doesn’t reach dangerous levels, but even a small presence can make a huge impact on the water’s properties. But don’t worry, it’s still safe to drink, even if it’s a little “off.”

Toronto’s Water Supply, Relatively Safe

Toronto’s water supply is relatively safe thanks to hard work of the city’s water quality staff. They use a combination of the latest cleaning technologies and regular testing to ensure the water is safe. But that doesn’t mean it’s completely clean. Besides the algae-related smells and tastes, your water could contain dangerous amounts of lead thanks to your plumbing. If this is the case, be sure to contact a plumbing professional immediately.

Andrew Olexiuk - Your Toronto Plumbing Expert
Andrew Olexiuk - Your Toronto Plumbing Expert
Andrew has over 20 years of experience as a plumbing contractor. He is co-owner and operator of Absolute Draining & Plumbing, a professional plumbing company serving residential & commercial properties across the Toronto, Ontario region.
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