Click Here to open a very helpful article from NPR outlining the service material identification process.
Please see the following video from the American Water Works Association – Together, Let’s Get the Lead Out!
Lead is rare in source drinking water because it seldom occurs naturally in water supplies. Lead gets into drinking water mostly as a result of the corrosion of materials that contain lead such as lead piping, lead solder, or brass plumbing fixtures. Drinking water that contains lead can be harmful, especially for young children and pregnant women.
OCWA’s source waters contain no detectable amount of lead. Any lead that is present at your tap comes from exposure to the pipes used to convey water into your home. This is why it is important to determine what kind of pipes are in your home.
OCWA customers get their water from one of three sources: Lake Ontario, Otisco Lake, or Skaneateles Lake. All three of these source waters are treated to minimize the leaching of lead from piping and fixtures. Waters from Otisco and Skaneateles Lakes add a corrosion inhibiter, Orthophosphate, to minimize lead from leaching. Lake Ontario water is treated with Caustic Soda, which also controls the ability of lead to leach from pipes.
OCWA has been testing for lead in accordance with the Lead and Copper Rule, effective since 1991, and has consistently tested well below the action level. To review OCWA’s most recent Lead analysis results, please see the most recent Annual Water Quality Report located under the Water Quality tab on OCWA’s website or click here to access the report.
OCWA is responsible for providing high quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. In 1986, lead was banned from being used in pipe and solder for drinking water systems, but in older homes where lead is present in pipe and solder connections it may dissolve into the water after the water sits for long periods of time. If you suspect you have a lead service line, you may want to conduct the following steps to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water:
- Any time the water has been sitting unused for more than 6 hours, such as when you first wake up or return from work or school, flush your cold water taps before drinking it for 30 seconds to two minutes or, until the water temperature stays constant.
- Use only water from the cold water tap for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Hot water may contain higher levels of lead.
- Install a filter that is approved for reducing lead by the National Sanitation Foundation (www.nsf.org) and maintain or replace the filter as directed by the manufacturer.
You can’t see, smell or taste lead in your water. Testing at the tap is the only way to measure lead levels. If you would like your water tested for lead, you can contact a Certified Laboratory where tests may cost in the $20 to $100 per tap range. A list of certified laboratories can be found at https://apps.health.ny.gov/pubdoh/applinks/wc/elappublicweb/, be sure to select one approved for potable water.
For more information on Lead, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline 1-800-426-4791 or http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead