From Evergreener Bill Bullock:
Since the Flint, Michigan disaster, there has been a lot of attention given to lead in water supplies nationwide. I have had a number of neighbors ask me about this. When my family with two toddlers moved into our house in Evergreen in the early 1990s, I had the water tested because I knew our house had some lead pipes. I also knew that lead exposure was most critical to young children. While I can’t remember the numbers from the test, it showed that the first batch of water drawn in the morning that sat in the pipes overnight had more lead in it than the batch after you let the water run a bit. And both levels were low compared to “action levels.” It was explained to me that there was a coating inside these pipes such that there was actually very little lead in contact with the water. And, MLGW continually adds appropriate levels of chemicals not only to kill any bacteria that may get in pipes, but promote this coating so that pipe materials don’t leach into the water.
Recently, MLGW published a list that indicated households that may have water lines that utilize lead. It was common practice during the time many of our Evergreen homes were built. I have seen some online discussion where residents equated this list with confirmed lead in the water. That is not the case. It is probably a good indication that the original service to the house was lead. It likely does not reflect whether or not that service was replaced with something since then. While the pipes inside our house are no longer lead, the service from the meter to the house is. I know there is an EPA “action level” of 15 parts per billion (ppb) where water utilities must address certain circumstances at or above that level. I was curious how my water compared, so I had the water tested again recently. The recent test for lead in my water shows less than 1 ppb of lead in both the samples taken. A local scientist I know not in the water business told me, “to pick up levels below 1 pbb is very difficult and doesn’t seem to make any difference in human toxicity.” Given that a lab test would likely give the same results for the water at my home compared to the purest water available anywhere (less than 1 ppb), I continue to be satisfied that my drinking water is safe. However, there is no doubt that lead is bad for people, and we should do all we can to make sure especially the youngest of us have as little exposure as possible.
If you have any concerns or questions about your water, I recommend you contact MLGW to get a water test for your own home. This can give you more certainty about the water you are drinking. Contact information for that test and other information regarding lead and water can be found at the following:
For a sample kit & test results, email email@example.com
Additionally, NPR recently had an interesting segment on this topic. You can find it at: