Aqua America (Aqua), the American Water Works Association and the water community are celebrating Drinking Water Week, May 7-13, 2017, by recognizing the vital role water plays in daily lives and the ways in which consumers can take personal responsibility in caring for their tap water and water infrastructure at home and in the community. One way Aqua is encouraging consumers to get involved is to help get the lead out. The water utility recently released a new lead education video advising homeowners to be vigilant about the dangers of lead in drinking water and to replace any plumbing that could leak lead into the water supply.
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Lead contamination is often the result of corrosion in the pipes and plumbing materials belonging to homeowners. There are several potential sources of lead that can contaminate drinking water, including: household plumbing containing lead solder and brass fixtures and lead service lines that run directly into homes.
In most cases, Aqua owns service lines from the water main and up to the customer’s curb. Once lines are on private property, they are beyond the utility’s control and it becomes the customer’s responsibility to mitigate lead exposure or to replace the lead plumbing. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder inside, which can leach into the homeowner’s water supply. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), approximately 10 million American homes receive water from service lines that are at least partially lead.
“Lead exposure is a serious concern for millions of homeowners throughout the country,” said Chris Crockett, Ph.D., chief environmental officer of Aqua America. “Aqua is committed to delivering safe, reliable drinking water to our customers. We encourage our customers and all homeowners to work with a licensed plumber to identify and replace lead-based pipes, fixtures and other materials in their home.”
According to the EPA, lead can cause serious health problems including damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of vital red blood cells. Infants, young children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure.
To minimize the potential for lead exposure from lead plumbing and service lines, Aqua advises homeowners to:
- Run the tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking, especially if water hasn’t been used in several hours.
- Only use cold water to cook, drink or prepare baby formula.
- Use National Sanitation Foundation approved water filtration devices for effective lead reduction.
To help homeowners better understand lead and know what they can do if they are concerned about lead in their water, Aqua developed an educational video that customers can view here. Aqua customers can also call Aqua at 877.987.2782 for information about having their water tested for lead.
Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly traded water utilities and serves nearly 3 million people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.