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Lead Service Lines FAQ

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  • Where can I find more information?

  • How does lead get into drinking water?

    • Generally, finished drinking water contains no lead.

    • Lead may be present in piping and plumbing fixtures found in customers’ homes.

    • If drinking water is corrosive, it can corrode customers’ lead service lines and plumbing fixtures, which can result in elevated lead levels in drinking water.

    • Homes constructed before 1940 may be served by a lead water service line. Copper pipe installed before 1985 may have been installed using lead-containing solder.
  • What are the health effects of lead in drinking water?

    • Customers who drink water with elevated lead levels can suffer long term health impacts including damage to the liver, kidneys, or even the brain.

    • Mental development issues are a significant concern for children exposed to lead contamination.

    • In 1991, the Environmental Protection Agency published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water. The rule is part of the Safe Water Drinking Act, and it requires water systems to monitor drinking water at customer taps.  If lead concentrations exceed the Action Level of 0.015 mg/L (or 15 parts per billion) in more than 10 percent of taps, the system must complete additional actions to control the corrosion.
  • What is Eau Claire Water Works doing to control elevated lead levels?

    • Eau Claire Water Works treats the drinking water to ensure it is not corrosive.  We do this by pH adjustment that coats the surface of lead service lines, so the metal does not leach into the drinking water.

    • Corrosion control is an important part of Eau Claire Water Works’ treatment process.  By carefully managing the chemistry of our drinking water, Eau Claire Water Works ensures the water is not corrosive.

    • Each day, samples are analyzed to ensure Eau Claire Water Works’ treatment for corrosion control remains effective.
  • What can you do to limit exposure to elevated levels of lead?

    • Use only water from the cold tap for drinking, cooking, or preparing baby formula.

    • Flush the tap for two to four minutes before using water for drinking or cooking when no water has been used for several hours. Showering, washing dishes, or doing laundry can be effective ways to flush household plumbing before water is used for drinking or cooking.