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Lead Sources

Despite concerns about lead in drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that “the greatest exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips or dust.”

  • Lead based paint.
  • Lead in the air from industrial emissions.
  • Lead in soil from past emissions by automobiles using leaded gas, together with paint chips and lead paint dust.
  • Lead byproducts brought home by industrial workers on their clothes and shoes.
  • Lead in consumer products and food, such as some imported candies, medicines, dishes, toys, jewelry, and plastics.

Sources of lead in drinking water

There is no lead in the water leaving the treatment plant. The water needs to sit in contact with lead plumbing materials for at least a few hours for it to dissolve into the water.

Lead service line

This is the pipe that brings water from the main into your home. In older homes, these could be lead.

The city owns the line from the main to the meter, including the meter. The homeowner owns the portion from the meter to the home, as well as all the plumbing in the home.

Lead plumbing

Some older homes may have lead pipes.

Lead solder

This is the material used to connect household pipes to each other. Lead solder was used until 1987.

Brass Plumbing fixtures

There is brass in almost all faucets, valves and fittings used in household plumbing. Until 2014, these materials could contain up to 8 percent lead and still be classified as “lead-free.”