Facts about Lead Pipes
Protecting Your Family from Impacts of Lead Pipes
You and your family expect drinking water that is clean, safe, and reliable. When you hear reports from around the country of concerns about lead and drinking water, you look for answers. As a drinking water agency committed to public health, the Gainesville Department of Water Resources (DWR) is a local resource for this important information.
Lead Pipes and Drinking Water
The water that leaves our treatment plants is lead-free. In fact, Gainesville’s drinking water continues to meet or exceed all drinking water quality standards set by federal and state governments.
Thanks to an extensive replacement program over more than 25 years, DWR has no known lead pipe in the utility-owned portion of the system. But lead can get into the water as it moves through customer-owned lead pipes, or faucets and fixtures that have lead components.
What is being done to protect customers from lead in pipes?
DWR recognizes the risk lead from plumbing can present to our customers. We have been actively taking steps for years to protect our community because we know lead pipes and plumbing fixtures exist in the customer-owned portion of the water distribution system. One of the most important measures we use is called corrosion control. This involves using processes at each of our water treatment plants to minimize the tendency of lead to dissolve into water from pipes or fixtures by reducing the corrosivity of the water and by coating the inside of pipes to reduce the contact water makes with the pipe material.
Another key protection measure is testing. Since 1992, we have been conducting tests on samples collected from 50 locations throughout our water distribution system following guidance from federal regulations. Results of this testing have consistently shown that our corrosion control measures are working because we are meeting regulatory standards.
We have also eliminated lead pipes from the public (utility-owned) side of the water system. Over a 12-year period we replaced water meters and associated lead service line pipes, and over an approximate 35-year period we replaced 2-inch galvanized pipe with ductile iron pipe water mains. We continue to address lead concerns by complying with all federal regulations meant to help consumers avoid lead exposure from drinking water.
What can I do to help reduce my family’s exposure to possible lead in drinking water?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), these are steps you can take if you are concerned about lead in drinking water. For more information, visit EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water#reducehome.
• Use only cold water for drinking or cooking. Never cook or mix infant formula using hot water from the tap.
• Make it a practice to run the water at each tap before use. Do not consume water that has sat in your home‛s plumbing for more than six hours.
• Regularly clean your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator). Sediment, debris, and lead particles can collect in your aerator. If lead particles are caught in the aerator, lead can get into your water.
• If you have a lead service line on your private property, replace it.
• Have your water tested.
• Use of a filter that meets NSF Standard 53 is a recommended good practice to help protect you and your family from any sediments. For more information on filters, please visit https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2018-12/documents/consumer_tool_for_identifying_drinking_water_filters_certified_to_reduce_lead.pdf
• Review the latest DWR Water Quality Report for more information.