Lead and Copper Rule
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recognizes the dangers lead poses in the drinking water. In 1991, the USEPA issued the Lead & Copper Rule mandating water systems adjust their water chemistry to control corrosion, and, therefore, limit lead leaching into the water.
GCWW has been in compliance with the USEPA Lead and Copper Rule, and any revisions, since it was established in 1991 to provide regulations related to the control of lead and copper in drinking water. As required, GCWW treats the drinking water specifically to minimize the amount of lead that may leach into the drinking water and undergoes a testing program to ensure the treatment is effective. This treatment process is called lead corrosion control. Monitoring has shown that the program is effective in minimizing city lead levels in home tap water.
- Specifically, the lead corrosion control treatment consists of:
- Adding lime and sodium hydroxide to the water to increase the water’s pH levels so the water is minimally corrosive to lead
- Adding chlorine disinfectant to provide protection
- Adjusting these two water chemistry changes to work together to form a protective film covering surfaces containing lead
- Minimizing lead that can enter the water with this film
- Monitoring by of GCWW the effectiveness of this strategy as per the regulation
The majority of water systems in the U.S. have installed corrosion control systems. However, the USEPA has seen sources of lead still existing in water systems. As long as these sources exist, there is a “risk” from lead, presenting a potential danger; therefore, removing the sources (lead service lines) from service permanently reduces the risk of lead exposure.
What sources of lead exist in the environment?
Lead is a naturally occurring element and does not break down. Lead can be found in soil or in antique consumer products such as paint.
Lead water service lines can be found in aging homes and is most common in homes built before 1927.
Are there health effects caused by lead?
Heath effects caused by lead can include irreversible interference to brain and nervous system development. Lead poses increased dangers to young children and pregnant women. There is no safe level of lead exposure.
How does lead enter my drinking water?
• Corrosion of lead service line and plumbing fixtures
• Disruption of the lead service line
What are the current regulations on lead regarding drinking water?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recognizes the danger lead poses in the drinking water. In 1991, the USEPA issued the Lead & Copper Rule mandating water systems adjust their water chemistry to control corrosion, and, therefore, limit lead leaching into the water.
What is GCWW doing to prevent lead from entering my drinking water?
In accordance with the USEPA Lead & Copper Rule, GCWW has a corrosion control treatment in place, which minimizes the potential of lead leaching from pipes.
What initiatives are in place to increase public education and awareness?
Leading The Way is GCWW’s answer to lead service lines in its community. Through this initiative, GCWW educates the community on the dangers of lead in water and the importance of replacing lead service lines and offers resources to those replacing their lead service lines. For more information, visit our contact page.
What other actions can customers take in their homes to reduce/remove the potential risks of lead in water?
To reduce the risk of lead exposure, customers are encouraged to replace plumbing fixtures containing lead (based on lead sampling results). The USEPA has also developed a guide for water customers about lead in drinking water and how consumers can reduce their risk of lead exposure.