Lead Contamination of Water

Lead, a harmful metal, poses significant health risks, especially for children. The presence of lead in pipes, fixtures, or solder connecting pipes can lead to contamination of drinking water. Older homes are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. Surprisingly, even in new homes labeled as "lead-free," plumbing may legally contain up to eight percent lead.

Both the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasize that there is no safe level of lead exposure. Children, in particular, are vulnerable to lead's harmful effects. While lead exposure commonly originates from sources like paint, dust, and soil, drinking water can contribute to 40 to 60 percent of an infant's lead exposure.

The primary objective is to minimize lead presence in your drinking water.

For BCWA customers concerned about lead in their drinking water, several options are available to reduce lead levels:

  • Test your water:  Public water systems often conduct tests for residents upon request.
  • Stay vigilant during construction: Be aware of any activities that may disturb your lead service line, such as water main replacement, lead service line repair, or replacement of part of the service line.
  • Run water before use: If water hasn't been used for several hours, run it for a specific duration based on whether your home has a lead service line.
  • Use cold water: Limit the use of cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula.
  • Install a certified water filter: Choose a filter certified to remove "total lead."
  • Regularly clean faucet aerators: Remove any debris to clear potential lead particles trapped in the aerator.
  • Select lead-free fixtures: Purchase faucets and plumbing components labeled as lead-free.
  • Replace lead service lines: Consider removing the entire lead service line for a more comprehensive solution.