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Can Your Faucets Be Harming You? A Look At Lead Content In Drinking Water

Feb 16

Written by: riiadmin
2/16/2017 7:30 AM  RssIcon

CAN YOUR FAUCETS BE HARMING YOU?

Water departments work hard to remove lead from our drinking water before it ever arrives at our water faucet.  However, you still may be drinking water that has lead content above the EPA Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 0.015 mg/L or 15 ug/L (parts per billion).

HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?

Lead can leach from faucets or fittings made of brass (which contain lead) or pipes with lead soldered joints. Therefore, there is a higher risk of exposure to lead in water from plumbing in older structures (circa mid-1980’s and older).

Here is an example.  As part of a Phase I ESA investigation, Resource International, Inc. (Rii) recently sampled and analyzed water samples from multiple faucets in a commercial building in Delaware, Ohio, to determine if lead was present in the drinking water. The original building was constructed in 1876 and a large addition was constructed in the 1980’s. Rii collected water samples from a representative number of sink faucets. We identified one kitchen sink that had lead levels above the EPA MCL. This became a critical issue for the buyer in moving forward with purchasing the property.

ARE THERE MEASURES TO PREVENT THIS?

As part of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), any plumbing fitting fixture, solder or flux made or sold after June 1986 was required to be “lead free”. Thus, if you have a potable water tap installed before 1986 (including water fountains, kitchen and bathroom sinks, and exterior faucets), there is a potential for lead to leach into the water from the piping and fixture. The EPA provides basic information and guidance on their website as to how to identify and manage if lead is in your drinking water. But first it is best to test the water. The links below will      
provide additional information.

https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water .

https://www.epa.gov/dwstandardsregulations/use-lead-free-pipes-fittings-fixtures-solder-and-flux-drinking-water

WHAT ABOUT SCHOOLS?

In June 2016, the Ohio EPA started the “Lead Plumbing Fixture Replacement Assistance Grant Program”. The grants are to be used to reimburse public and chartered nonpublic schools to sample their drinking water and replace drinking fountains, water coolers, plumbing fixtures, and limited connected piping found to be a cause of lead above the federal action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. Buildings constructed before 1990 are the ones most likely to have solder, pipes, drinking faucets and water coolers containing lead. The Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC) manages the grants; below you’ll find the link with further information on the grant program and how to apply.

http://ofcc.ohio.gov/ServicesPrograms/LeadFixtureReplacementGrants.aspx


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