Lead in plumbing is a key health and safety focus for public health officials, consumers, and water providers. At WaterOne, we're proud that our water meets or surpasses all regulatory standards for water quality, and we're committed to our role as water quality experts by offering advice to customers about safeguarding from lead exposure in interior plumbing.
What is Lead?
According to the EPA, lead is a naturally occurring element with many past and current uses. Exposure to lead can be toxic to humans and animals, causing serious health effects. Lead was once used as a material in plumbing products, but it has been long-since banned by the EPA in newly manufactured materials and construction. However, lead can still cause problems in older buildings throughout the United States, where service lines and components containing lead may still be in use. Risk of lead exposure comes from plumbing, where it's possible for lead in pipes, solder, fittings, or fixtures to leach into drinking water under certain conditions.
Our Water Distribution System
The risk of lead is exceptionally small in our service area, but it's still an issue that WaterOne takes very seriously. WaterOne customers are protected from lead exposure in several ways:
- WaterOne has no record of lead pipe being used throughout our distribution system. Our treated water is lead-free when it reaches your property.
- WaterOne's consistent, stable water treatment carefully controls mineral content, pH and alkalinity, which resists corrosion and helps prevent water from picking up impurities from private plumbing.
- WaterOne practices quality control above and beyond the testing required by state and federal regulations. Our accredited water quality lab samples and tests water quality continuously, with results taken from all parts of the service area.
Understanding Private Plumbing
Water providers are responsible for all components of the water distribution system up to and including the water meter. All interior private plumbing, as well as the service line supplying water from the meter to the property, is the responsibility of the customer.
Much of the development in WaterOne's service area is relatively modern, and it is extremely rare to find lead components in use for private service lines or plumbing. In accordance with recently updated EPA rules, WaterOne is developing a Service Line Inventory of both public and private service line materials as an additional resource for property owners.
Reducing Your Risk Of Exposure
If you are concerned about lead exposure due to the materials or age of your private plumbing, here's a few things to know:
- Historically, use of lead plumbing materials had become less common in our area prior to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) of 1974, and lead was banned completely by amendments to the SDWA in 1986. Mid-century construction (late 1940s to early 1960s) or older may be more likely to have used lead components at some point in the history of the building.
- Sources of lead in plumbing components can include brass and chrome plated faucets, lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, and some foreign-manufactured fixtures or equipment. If you're aware of these components in use in your property, contact a plumber to have them inspected or replaced.
- To avoid drinking stale water, run your faucet for a few minutes to pull in fresh water from your neighborhood's water main. This reduces the risk of idle water picking up impurities from your private plumbing.
- Consumers who choose to use a home filter to provide additional protection against lead should make sure it is NSF-certified for that purpose and is properly maintained.
- Pregnant women and children under six should take special care to minimize lead exposure. Consumers should also be aware that the most common risk of lead exposure comes from paint chips and dust in the home - not from drinking water.
Resources For Lead Safety and Water Quality
Learn more about lead and how to reduce your risk of exposure at EPA webpage for lead.
We are passionate about producing high-quality, great tasting water. WaterOne's Water Quality Reports contain detailed information and data about your drinking water. These reports are available 24/7 at waterone.org/H2OReports.
If you have questions about water quality, taste or odor, or any other concerns about your water, don't hesitate to contact WaterOne Customer Service at 913-895-1800 or send us a message on MyAccount.