EPCOR has informed Sturgeon County that starting March 20, 2023, they will add orthophosphate to its water treatment process. EPCOR supplies the drinking water to Sturgeon County as part of the Regional Water Customer Group.
Orthophosphate is part of EPCOR’s Enhanced Lead Mitigation Program, introduced after Health Canada updated the guidelines for lead in drinking water. In March 2019, Health Canada reduced the maximum acceptable concentration (MAC) for lead in drinking water. This new MAC is applied to water samples taken at the tap, whereas previously it was applied to samples taken and tested as the water is leaving the treatment plant or in the distribution system.
While there isn’t lead in the water when it leaves EPCOR’s treatment plant, lead can get into the drinking water through lead pipes and other household plumbing fixtures. The lead inhibitor (orthophosphate) forms a protective coating inside water lines, and on fixtures which helps prevent lead from releasing into the water that flows through the pipes.
EPCOR advises that orthophosphate is tasteless, odourless, and safe. Phosphate is found naturally in foods like bread, cheese, fruits, and nuts. It’s also a common additive in beverages. It has been approved for use by Alberta Health.
To learn more about the orthophosphate addition, visit EPCOR’s website at epcor.com/ortho.