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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Q. Is there lead in my drinking water?
Q. Sometimes when I pour a glass of water it appears cloudy, then clears from the bottom up.
Q. What is the hardness of our water?
Q. Do I need to de-chlorinate water for my new fish tank or will letting the water sit for a few days with an airflow take care of the chlorine?
Q. What exactly is "Beaver Fever"? 
Q. What is this pink buildup around the bowl of my toilet?
Q. Does the City of Medicine hat currently add fluoride to the potable water supply? 


Q. Is there lead in my drinking water?

Lead levels are undetectable in water samples collected from various sample sites around the city. However, it may be present in your home tap water as a result of dissolution from household plumbing systems containing lead; including solder, brass fittings, or the service connections to your home. To be on the safe side, if you own a house you know contains lead piping or fixtures containing lead (usually older homes), you may wish to rid your plumbing system of standing water before the water is used for drinking or cooking. You can do so by running the cold water tap for a minute or two (till the water gets cold). Excess quantities of lead may impact human health, especially in small children, therefore a very conservative limit has been set by Health Canada at 0.010 mg/L of lead in drinking water (soils and household dust are the most significant sources of lead exposure for small children). This limit is based on long-term chronic effects, so short-term consumption of water above this limit does not necessarily pose undue risk to health. Lead levels in the water leaving the water treatment are undetectable through lab analysis. Lead is the most common of the heavy elements and is widely distributed throughout the environment. It has traditionally been used in plumbing fittings, lead acid batteries, chemicals, paints, and solder; although these uses are decreasing (Canadian and US governments are introducing policies and regulations to reduce lead content in plumbing fittings, paints, solder and gasoline)

Q. Sometimes when I pour a glass of water it appears cloudy, then clears from the bottom up. 

This is due to dissolved air (oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide) in the water. As the water temperature decreases, more air is held in solution. The pressure in the water lines keeps it in solution as it travels and warms in the distribution system or in your home’s water lines. When the pressure is released it forms fine, microscopic, bubbles that give the water a cloudy appearance for a few seconds. This is not an indication of a problem, nor is it a quality concern. The water should clear from the bottom up in a few minutes if left to sit.

Q. What is the hardness of our water ?  

The water hardness fluctuates between 130-270 mg/L expressed as Calcium Carbonate. Washing machine manufacturers often refer to Hardness in Grains; the Hardness in Grains per American Gallon is 7.6-15.8. Medicine Hat water is classified as moderate in hardness.

Q. Do I need to de-chlorinate water for my new fish tank or will letting the water sit for a few days with an air flow take care of the chlorine?

City of Medicine Hat water contains chlorine. If water is allowed to sit in an open container for an extended period of time the chlorine will naturally dissipate. De-chlorination chemicals are also available through pet stores. The best practice is to ask an expert at the pet store for details on what is the best approach to follow.

Q. What exactly is "Beaver Fever"? 

Beaver Fever is the common name for a flu-like illness caused by a common intestinal parasite known as Giardia (pronounced gee-are-dee-ah). The symptoms usually appear one to four weeks after you have ingested a large amount of Giardia cysts (30-50 cysts per 1000 litres of water). Giardia is found in human and animal wastes which sometime wash into rivers and lakes. The City of Medicine Hat Water Treatment process is regulated by Alberta Environment to remove a minimum 99.99% of cysts. Background levels of the organism are quite low in our section of the South Saskatchewan River and have never posed any significant threat to human health in Medicine Hat.

Q. What is this pink buildup around the bowl of my toilet?

The pink residue is actually produced by a strain of airborne bacteria that are present in many households (does not originate from the water). The bacteria, since airborne, tend to proliferate (multiply) around the outside of the toilet bowl at the resting water level. The bacteria thrive on this “water to air interface” and hence the appearance of a “pink ring”. This strain of bacteria is very common and does not pose a health concern. The only way to prevent their growth is through the use of bleach pucks or regular cleaning.

Q. Does the City of Medicine hat currently add fluoride to the potable water supply? 

The City of Medicine Hat does not add Fluoride to its potable water supply. Research has shown that adequate fluoride is contained within most major brand-name personal care products on the market today. The addition of fluoride is not necessary in potable water.

Last updated: 5/23/2013 2:02:45 PM