CWLP reduces risks of corrosion occurring in plumbing systems by adding lime during the water treatment process, which raises the pH of the finished drinking water. The use of lime and the higher pH of the water limits the risk of metals, such as lead, from leaching into drinking water from lead service lines and plumbing fixtures containing lead or copper.
In situations where water is left standing for extended periods in plumbing systems where lead or copper pipe or solder exists, contamination into drinking water is a possibility There are safeguards you can take to protect against this risk.
Lead contamination may occur when water passes through a municipal water service line into a resident’s private plumbing system,
where plumbing fixtures or pipe include lead or copper pipe with lead solder. This can permit lead to leach into the home’s water supply
if water is left standing in the pipes for several hours. Individual property owners are responsible for any repairs or replacements to
the section of private service line that runs from the meter pit or shutoff valve located near the street or in the outdoor meter pit to the home.
Homes built before 1930 are more likely to have lead plumbing systems than newer homes. If your house or property was built before January 1986,
you are more likely to have lead-solder in the plumbing. Properties built after January 1986 most likely contain copper piping.
Lead is a very soft, dull gray metal. You can carefully scratch the pipe of soldered joint with a key or screwdriver. If the area turns a bright silver color,
the pipe or solder is most likely lead. Note: Galvanized piping is also gray in color. You can use a strong magnet to determine if the pipe is galvanized.
The magnet will cling to galvanized pipes, but not to lead pipes.
Lead is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Lead is found in air, soil, dust, food and water. Lead was once a key ingredient in paint and gasoline and may be found in
part in batteries, pottery, roofing materials, some cosmetics, toys, and jewelry. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the main sources of lead exposure in children.
Lead based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10 -20% of adult exposure to lead comes from the drinking water.
Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with tap water can receive 40 – 60% of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Lead can cause a variety of health effects when people are exposed to it. Children 6 years old and younger are the most susceptible to damaging effects.
EPA Lead Regulations
As an additional safeguard against lead contamination from drinking water for those with lead or copper service lines with lead soldering.
In the 1991 rulemaking, the EPA established a maximum contaminant level goal of 0 mg/L for lead and an action level of 0.015 mg/L for lead in public water systems.
The lead action level is exceeded if the concentration in more than 10 percent of the distribution water samples (i.e., the 90th percentile) collected after a minimum
stagnation time of 6 hours is greater than the respective action level. CWLP’s certified lab results have revealed concentrations below the action level.
Drinking Water Quality
A laboratory certified by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) can be hired to perform an analysis of your home or business for lead.
A list of certified laboratories is available from the IEPA Regional Office at 217.557.8761. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and
the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site below, call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health care provider.
EPA Lead Testing