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Lead Testing

Fort Worth conducted lead testing in 2016, and was in compliance with state and federal regulations. No locations exceeded the lead action level of 15 parts per billion.

If any compliance site had exceeded the action level, the Water Department would:

  • Provide the customer with information about what can be done to reduce or eliminate lead in drinking water
  • Resample immediately
  • Resample in six months
  • Resample at no charge as frequently as the customer desires.

Fort Worth has been on reduced monitoring for lead and copper, meaning we sample 50 homes every three years. In 2009, at the request of the state regulatory agency, we added one apartment complex, one daycare and one school to our triennial sampling protocol. The 2015 results had the 90th percentile value at 6 parts per billion. Because this value is above 5 parts per billion, the utility had to repeat the sampling in 2016 instead of waiting until 2018. The 2016 90th percentile value is below 5 parts per billion so the next round of compliance testing will occur in 2019.

The sampling must be done between June 1 and Sept. 30. TCEQ requires the testing be done in the warmest months because warmer water can increase the possibility of metal leaching.

Year Action level Number of sites exceeding action level 90th percentile
2016 15 parts per billion 0 3.2
2015 15 parts per billion 1 6.3
2012 15 parts per billion 2 4.5
2009 15 parts per billion 1 4.9
2006 15 parts per billion 0 2.4
2003 15 parts per billion 1 3.9

Compliance sampling process

When the Lead and Copper Rule took effect in 1993, Fort Worth and all public drinking water systems were required to submit a list of addresses 100 addresses that were known to have lead service lines or lead solder. That same list of addresses must still be used today to select the 50 sites used for Fort Worth’s lead and copper compliance sampling.

Lead samples are taken from a tap inside the home or business. The sample is actually taken by the customer and not a licensed, water professional. It is the only water quality sampling done this way.

The water must sit in the pipes for a minimum of six hours and maximum of 18 hours without any use, including no flushing. The water must be the first flush out the faucet. Most samples are taken first thing in the morning, though the sample could be taken after someone returns from work to an empty home. The sample must be taken from a regularly used cold water tap, preferably the kitchen sink. If the faucet has an aerator, it should not be removed prior to taking the sample.

The Fort Worth Water Department laboratory provides the bottles, the sampling instructions and training to the customer.

The customer must complete and sign a form that includes the date and time the sample was taken, the date and time the water was last used and which faucet was used to take the sample (i.e. kitchen, bathroom, etc.). Once the sample is taken, the customer notifies the lab the sample and completed form are ready for pick-up.

Lead Testing

Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present in your drinking water. A list of certified laboratories is available on the TCEQ website. Contact labs directly for information on cost and sampling bottles.

The Fort Worth Water Department laboratory offers lead testing for $15 per sample. If you wish to have your water sampled, please call 817-392-4477.

All lead test results must be reported to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.