Ways to Reduce Lead in Your Water
- Run the tap to flush your pipes. The most effective way to reduce exposure is to run the tap for at least 30 seconds if you haven’t used your water for six hours or more.
- Clean your faucet aerator. Lead particles from pipes, fittings, or solder can get trapped in your faucet aerator. (The aerator is the removable screen on the end of your faucet.) Remove and clean aerators every few months. Click here to learn how.
- Use cold water for cooking and drinking. Lead dissolves more easily in hot water. Use only cold water for cooking, drinking, or making baby formula. Boiling water does not remove lead. Flushing hot water tanks periodically is advisable.
- Know how your home is wired. A grounding wire attached to pipes may cause materials to corrode more. Check with a licensed electrician to see if there is another location for this wire.
- Have your home tap water tested. Contact the Ohio EPA for a list of certified labs that test for lead in water. Call 614-644-4245 or visit www.epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/labcert.
- Use a water filter. If your water has elevated levels of lead, consider purchasing a home filter certified to remove lead. Find out more on filter certification at www.nsf.org.
- Find out if your home has a city lead service line by calling the Service Department at 937-525-5800 or by viewing the Lead Service Line Map.
- Find out if your home meets the characteristics of having, or likely to have, lead piping, solder, or fixtures by viewing the Building Characteristics Map.
- The Clark County Combined Health District offers lead screening services for children and at-risk persons. Call 937-390-5600 ext. 284 or visit http://www.ccchd.com/ccchd/get-tested/lead-testing.html for more information or to make an appointment.
- Ohio EPA has a list of certified labs that test for lead in water. Call 614-644-4245 or visit www.epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/labcert.
- The USEPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline provides information about drinking water programs authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act at 800-426-4791 or www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
How can lead get in drinking water?
Some water service lines, home plumbing (pipes, fittings, solder), and plumbing fixtures contain lead. As water sits in household plumbing over long periods of time, such as overnight or during work and school hours, lead can leach into the water. Regardless of what plumbing materials are in your home, the most effective way to limit exposure to lead in drinking water is to flush the tap for at least 30 seconds if the water has not been used for six hours or more. You’ll know you have fresh water from the city’s main line when it becomes cold.
How can lead affect my health?
All U.S. water operators are required to comply with federal Safe Drinking Water Act regulations, including the Lead and Copper Rule. Lead is a common, natural metal found throughout the environment and is used in many commercial products. Exposure to lead can be harmful. A build-up of lead in the body can cause damage to the brain or kidneys, or interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. The greatest risk is to infants, young children, and pregnant women.
Your doctor can perform a blood test to determine if you or your child have been exposed to lead. The Clark County Combined Health District (CCCHD) also offers lead screening for children and at-risk persons. Call 390-5600 ext. 284 to make an appointment or visit http://www.ccchd.com/ccchd/get-tested/lead-testing.html for more information.
Know Your Plumbing
Springfield has created two maps that reflect where potential and actual lead-containing components exist in the water distribution system.
- The Lead Service Line Map shows areas of the water system that are known or likely to contain lead service lines.
- The Building Characteristics Map identifies homes and buildings that may contain lead piping, solder, or fixtures.
- In general, buildings in Springfield built in 1952 and prior may have lead water pipes.
- Buildings built prior to 1998 or that use plumbing material or solder manufactured before 1998 may have materials with greater than 8% lead.
- Buildings built and plumbing materials manufactured after 2014 were required to have less than 0.25% lead by weight and have the lowest risk for contributing lead to the drinking water.
Reducing Corrosion in Waterlines
Springfield has a very effective treatment process that helps protect pipes from corrosion. Certified water operators adjust the water’s chemistry (pH) and add sodium hexametaphosphate to the water ahead of the rapid sand filters. The treatment process makes the water less corrosive and creates a coating inside the pipes to serve as a barrier between the pipes and water. This prevents conditions that can cause the lead to leach into drinking water.
The finished water at the Water Treatment Plant is tested regularly for stability. Stability is a primary indicator of the water’s corrosiveness. As required by the Ohio EPA, 30 homes in the Springfield water distribution system are tested every three years for lead. This helps to ensure that we are continually meeting our corrosion protection goals.
Water Quality Information
The USEPA action level for lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion (ppb). In the last testing periods, the highest level detected in a Springfield water service area home was 7.54 ppb, far below the level allowed. Springfield continues to be in compliance with all state and federal requirements on lead in drinking water, including the Lead and Copper Rule. For more information about water quality, please see the Consumer Confidence Report or call the Springfield Water Treatment Plant Lab at 937-525-5883.