Aqua America is encouraging customers to be mindful of potential sources of lead in drinking water during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Oct. 22 – 28. To help raise awareness, Aqua released a lead education video that helps its customers who are homeowners to understand the important role they play in ensuring their water is lead free.
“Each day, Aqua strives to deliver clean, safe drinking water to our customers,” said Christopher Crockett, chief environmental officer at Aqua America. “While Aqua routinely tests water to ensure that it is safe to drink, we are taking this opportunity to educate customers on the significant dangers of lead exposure and making sure customers understand the importance of safeguarding their homes.”
There are two main sources of lead contamination in drinking water: lead service lines that deliver water directly into homes from the water mains in the street, and household plumbing containing lead solder and brass fixtures. Lead in either of these sources can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and interference with the production of vital red blood cells. Infants, young children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to the effects.
Aqua owns service lines from the water main to the customer's curb. If lead service lines are found during maintenance and construction, the company takes responsibility to replace them with modern service lines made without lead. If Aqua detects lead in the portion of the service line owned by the customer, the company alerts the customer and provides support to resolve the issue. Customers are encouraged to work with a licensed plumber to identify and replace lead-based pipes, fixtures and other materials in their homes.
Aqua recommends the following tips for customers whose water shows elevated levels of lead or who have concerns about possible lead exposure:
- If your water hasn’t been used for several hours, run the tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using it for drinking or cooking.
- Use cold water to cook and prepare baby formula. Do not boil water to reduce lead. Lead dissolves more easily into hot water so boiling water will not make it safe to drink.
- Use National Sanitation Foundation approved water filtration devices for effective lead reduction. You can contact NSF International at 800.NSF.8010 or NSF.org to learn more about approved water filters.
- Be aware that brass faucets, fittings and valves – even those advertised as lead free – might contribute lead to drinking water. The law allows end-use fixtures, such as faucets, with wetted surfaces containing a maximum weighted average of 0.25 percent lead to be labeled as lead free.
- If you are concerned about exposure, contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get tested for lead.
For more information on reducing lead exposure in your home, view the educational video Aqua developed here. Aqua customers can also call 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.
Stacey Hajdak, 610-520-6309