Lead awareness— some commonly asked questions
Jul 05, 2016 11:34AM ● Published by Neighbors Magazines
Due to recent developments in Flint Michigan, and elsewhere throughout the country, community water supplies are being asked to follow-through on four (4) high priority action items related to lead in drinking water. Priority #1 for public water supplies is to provide public education information related to lead in drinking water. Priority #2 involves corrosion control and monitoring; Priority #3 includes community lead service line identification and field sampling; and Priority #4 may eventually be the elimination of lead service lines in their entirety. The intent of this article is to provide public education information regarding lead in drinking water.
Where does the city’s water come from?
The city’s water supply is a combination of deep and shallow well water. The deep wells are drilled into the Ironton/Galesville Aquifer and the shallow wells are drilled into the St. Charles Aquifer. The city’s wells vary in depth from 150' to 1500'.
Is lead a problem with Batavia’s water?
Batavia’s source water, deep and shallow wells, is lead free. Lead typically enters drinking water after coming in contact with lead products used in plumbing systems. The most common lead based plumbing products are: 1) Lead water service lines that carry water from the city water mains to the house. 2) Lead based solder used to connect copper pipes in homes. 3) Lead plumbing fixtures such as faucets.
Does Batavia treat the water for lead and copper corrosion?
Yes, Batavia has been using an ortho-phosphate corrosion control chemical since the 1990’s to help mitigate the effects of lead and copper corrosion. The ortho-phosphate provides a protective barrier on the interior of plumbing so the water does not come in contact with the lead or copper pipe materials.
How do I know if my home has a lead service line; solder or plumbing fixtures?
Homes built with copper plumbing typically used lead based solder until approximately 1987. Lead water service lines were typically installed under city streets between 1895 and the late 1940’s. Most old homes in Batavia have galvanized steel pipes or copper pipes between the parkway area and the basement. However, some homes built prior to 1950 may also have lead water service lines into the basement. City employees can assist in the investigation of lead based service lines or lead based solder in your home.
What can I do to prevent lead in my water?
If you’re concerned about lead in your drinking water, you can take several steps to limit possible exposure.
1. Flush your tap water. Flushing old water out of your home plumbing is the easiest way to mitigate any possibility of lead in your drinking water. Flushing the tap is particularly important when the faucet has gone unused for more than a few hours. It takes time for lead to dissolve into water, so the first water drawn from the tap in the morning or after a long period of non-use can contain higher levels of lead. Let the water run from the tap until it is noticeably colder (this may take one to two minutes or more) before using it for cooking or drinking. After the lines have been flushed, fill a glass water pitcher and store the fresh water in the refrigerator for drinking. Conservation tip—Don’t waste water. Grab the flushed water for use on house plants and other non-potable use.
2. Purchase a home water filter. Make sure you understand exactly what type of filter you are purchasing. Not all drinking water filters remove lead. Testing at the tap is the only way to measure the lead levels in your home or workplace. You can’t see, smell or taste lead in your water. Testing costs around $40. If you would like your water tested the city can provide assistance and refer you to a certified laboratory.
Additional detailed information about Batavia’s water system and lead and copper in drinking water can be found on the city’s web site, cityofbatavia.net.