Air & Water Sciences - Environmental Consultants
mold, bacteria, asbestos, lead, VOC & Water investigations

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Air& Water Sciences


LEAD in DRINKING WATER

For most living in the United States, water is supplied by a public water supply system or local well. Federal regulations require public water supply districts to test water for lead at select residential customer taps and to take corrective action if lead levels exceed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level of 15 µg/L. However, public water supply districts do not test for lead in a facility’s service pipes or fixtures which are often where most of the lead components are found.

Lead can enter the your drinking water either by being present in the water from the public water supply district or more often through the building’s internal plumbing system where materials containing lead may be present, such as lead pipes, lead solder and fluxes. Stagnant water in the pipes having extended contact with lead containing materials and components combined with irregular use patterns can contribute to elevated concentrations of lead in water. Other factors such as the pH of the water and the temperature can also affect the rate at which lead is absorbed into the water.

Legistration

In 1986 the Safe Water Drinking Act (SWDA) required the use of “lead-free” pipe, solder, and flux in the installation or repair of any public water system or any plumbing in a residential or non-residential facility providing water for human consumption. Solders and flux are considered to be lead-free when they contain less than 0.2% lead. Before this ban took effect in June 1986, solders used to join water pipes typically contained about 50% lead. Pipes and pipe fittings were considered “lead-free” under the Lead Ban when they contained less than 8% lead. In January 2010, California enacted a law which reduced the maximum allowable lead content of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings and fixtures used to convey water for human consumption to less than 0. 25% lead of wetted surfaces as determined by a weighted average. On January 4, 2014 the "Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act”, more commonly known as the Lead Free Law, went into effect. This resulted in a national mandate requiring that every pipe, fixture, and fitting used to convey water for potable use contain less than 0.25% of lead by weight.

In 1988, the Lead Contamination Control Act (LCCA) was signed. This required the identification of water coolers that were not lead-free, the removal or repair of water coolers with lead lined tanks, banned the manufacture and sale of water coolers that are not lead-free and required the identification and resolution of lead problems in schools. The LCCA was aimed at secondary and primary schools, kindergartens, daycare centers, water cooler manufacturers and federal, state and local agencies.

drinking faucet

In 1991 the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) was signed into law. The LCR requires public water suppliers to monitor for lead and copper in drinking water at select residential dwellings supplied water by a public agency. If lead or copper are found above the EPA action levels, the water supply agency must provide corrosion treatment. Again, this only applies to the water being supplied through the water utilities pipes and not the service pipes or fixtures within the school, facility or home.

What We Provide

Air & Water Sciences can plan and perform the testing in your home or facility to determine if lead is leaching into the water. We can interpret the results and provide recommendations if exceedances are found. Our final report for each tested facility includes text detailing the strategy, sample collection, results, recommendations and conclusions. Also included in the report are sample location maps, tables compiling the data from the laboratory and the raw laboratory data sheets. We are also available to present the data in a meeting or forum and to help roll-out the reports to any specified group. We are happy to discuss any concerns you have about the presence of lead in your water.

Links for more information:

EPA – Home Water Testing
CDC - Lead in Water
ACWA - California's Drinking Water

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