REGINA -- Water has been on the minds of Regina residents this week after a national study found the city has some of the highest levels of lead concentration in drinking water, in homes built before 1960, due to lead service lines.

Jinkai Xue, an Assistant Professor of Environmental System Engineering at the University of Regina, said the health risks associated with lead tainted water are huge, especially for children.

“It can cause various problems such as impaired reproductive function, they can also interfere with heme synthesis, which is important for red blood cell production, and it also causes impaired cognitive performance and delayed neurological and physical development,” Xue said.

There are 3,600 lead service lines in Regina and the City expects it will take around 20-25 years to replace all the lines.

Residents living in areas where lead service lines were installed can have their water tested through a city program, which takes 7-14 business days to complete, and they are also eligible to receive a certified filter from the city for one year.

“Some people think, I should boil water to remove lead, unfortunately, it doesn’t happen because when you boil water, you actually increase the lead concentration because you will lose water through evaporation,” Xue said.

Greg Brand with the Water Warehouse in Regina says they’ve seen a 500 per cent increase in calls looking for water filtration systems since the results of the study became public.

A reverse osmosis water system can be installed in your house and will filter out the lead in the water to make it safe for drinking.

“We offer for whole house, a water softener which will remove dissolved lead fairly well if you’re concerned about it in bath water and for drinking water, we have half-micron filters and reverse osmosis systems that we’ve always sold, they do a good job of removing lead,” Brand said.

The city offers a one-time rebate of $100 for a filter that is certified by the National Sanitation Foundation.