To protect copper pipes and hot water tanks in buildings, Metro Vancouver is planning to increase the pH and alkalinity of the region’s drinking water through the use of natural minerals. This increase will:
- Reduce the release of copper from pipes in buildings caused by low pH in the region’s water;
- Reduce leaks in pipes caused by copper corrosion;
- Help preserve the lifespan of pipes and hot water tanks; and
- Reduce green stains on tubs, sinks, and grout.
Metro Vancouver currently delivers water with a pH of 7.7, which is compliant with Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian DrinkingWater Quality, which range from 7 to 10.5. Adjusting the pH is an existing key component of Metro Vancouver’s water treatment process because our untreated source water is naturally slightly acidic.
Increasing the pH to a target range of 8.3 to 8.5 will make the water less corrosive. To help improve the stability of the target pH level in the water transmission and distribution pipes, the alkalinity will be doubled to about 20 mg/L (expressed as calcium carbonate) using natural minerals. Alkalinity is a measure of the buffering capacity of the water to neutralize acids and bases to help maintain a stable pH level. These changes might prompt some water users such as health care facilities and breweries to adjust and calibrate their operations to the change in pH and alkalinity.
Metro Vancouver will continue to deliver high quality drinking water throughout the region that tastes and smells the same.