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  1. 7/23/2010 IS THERE LEAD IN MY DRINKING WATER?
  2. Platte Canyon’s water is supplied by Denver Water.  During testing lead has not been detected in Denver Water’s raw water or in the treated water leaving Denver Water treatment plants.  The most common source of lead in treated drinking water is a customer’s plumbing.
     
    Lead’s documented health effects in adults include high blood pressure, hearing problems, and kidney and nervous system disorders. In infants and children, lead can interfere with formation of red blood cells, cause low birth weight, delay physical and mental development, and is a cancer risk. Long-term exposure to high levels of lead can result in death. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established that lead in drinking water is a health concern at levels above 0.015 ppm (parts per million). This is the "Action Level" cited in the EPA Lead and Copper Regulation of 1991. 
     
    We are exposed to lead in our environment in many forms. Many of us were exposed to lead in the past from auto exhaust from leaded gasolines and household paint.  Some more common ways to ingest or inhale lead today are:  in processed foods and or containers, paint and dust from paint chips (usually the number one cause), auto exhausts, cigarette smoke, blowing dust (especially along highways), household keys, candles, and pottery and ceramics.
     
    Lead may also be present in household plumbing, which can be the source of lead in the tap water you drink.  It is estimated that drinking water can contribute 10 to 20 percent of the total lead exposure for young children.
     
    It was common practice in the United States through the early 1900s to use lead pipe for interior plumbing. Since the 1930s, galvanized iron and, later, copper pipe joined with solder have replaced lead pipe. However, until 1988, lead-based solder and fixtures containing lead were used in residential plumbing. Federal law now requires the use of lead-free solder and lead-free materials in new household plumbing and repair work.
     
    As a Denver Water customer, it is important for you to know that lead is not present in detectable levels in the water as it leaves any of Denver Water treatment plants or in the distribution system that supplies water to your home or business.  The most common cause of lead in drinking water is corrosion, a reaction between the water and lead pipes, fixtures containing lead (such as some brass fixtures), or lead-based solder used to connect copper pipes.
     
    When water stands in the pipes of a residence or business for several hours without use, there is a potential for lead to dissolve into the water if a lead source is present. Soft water (water that is low in minerals and makes soap suds easily) can be more corrosive and, therefore, may dissolve higher levels of lead. Some home treatment devices, such as water softeners, may also make water more corrosive.
     
    Because of the mineral content of Denver's water, a coating commonly will build up inside pipes and fixtures over a period of years, protecting the material containing lead from corrosion. Many older homes with lead plumbing do not have high lead levels because of this mineral deposit.
     
     
    Get the Lead Out
     
    Here are some ways to reduce your exposure to lead if you think it's present in your tap water:
     
    ·       When water has been standing in your pipes, run the cold-water tap until it gets noticeably colder. The lower temperature indicates you have cleared water that has been standing in pipes. (To conserve water, remember to catch the flushed tap water for plants or some other household use.)
     
    ·       Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking and especially for making baby formula. Hot tap water dissolves lead faster and is likely to contain higher levels of lead if present.
     
    ·       Insist on lead-free solder and lead-free fixtures when repairing or replacing plumbing.
     
     
    Have Your Water Tested
     
    The only way to be sure of the amount of lead in your household water is to have it tested by a competent laboratory. You should be particularly suspicious if your home has lead pipes and you see signs of corrosion (frequent leaks, rust-colored water, stained dishes or laundry). If you decide to have your water tested for lead, make sure you select a lab that is state certified for that analysis through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at 303-692-3500.
    Information about testing young children for lead also can be obtained from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment at 303-692-2700.
     
     
    Treatment Devices
     
    There are many filtering devices certified for effective lead reduction, but devices that are not designed to remove lead won't work. These implements use various kinds of filtering media, including carbon, ion exchange, resins, activated alumina and other products. Unless they have been certified to remove lead by the National Sanitation Foundation International or the Water Quality Association, their effectiveness can vary greatly. Flushing your tap water is extremely effective in removing lead.
     
     
    Denver Water Lead Testing
     
    Because Denver Water consistently has been below lead Action Levels as set by the EPA, the state health department permits reduced monitoring to once every three years. The most recent monitoring figures are always included in Denver Water’s annual Water Quality Report.
     
     
    How To Tell the Difference Between Lead and Iron Plumbing?
     
    Lead is a softer metal than iron and scratches easily. Try scratching the pipe with a key or screwdriver. Lead pipe will be dull gray in color, but the scratch marks will appear bright silver. Solders and flux are considered lead-free when they contain no more than .2 percent lead. In the past, solder normally contained about 50 percent lead. Pipes and fittings are considered lead free when they contain no more than eight percent lead.
     
     
    What Is Denver Water Doing to Comply with the EPA Lead Regulation?
     
    For several years Denver Water has been conducting tests at representative high-risk homes. Denver Water has never exceeded lead regulation Action Levels. Ninety percent of the results have been consistently below the Action Level of 0.015 ppm for lead.
     
    Denver Water considers water quality to be one of its highest priorities, and testing will continue as required. If you want to know more call 303-628-5973.