Hamilton, Ohio -
Many local water consumers continue to read or hear accounts concerning lead and copper in drinking water. In light of these news accounts, the City of Hamilton wishes to share information regarding steps it takes to help ensure the safety of its award-winning drinking water.
Typical sources of lead and copper in drinking water are home service lines, pipes and lead plumbing solder. If drinking water passing through such plumbing systems is corrosive, lead and copper may dissolve in the drinking water and be ingested. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), known effects of lead exposure "range from subtle biochemical changes at low levels of exposure, to severe neurological and toxic effects or even death at extremely high levels."
In 1991, the EPA issued its Lead and Copper Rule. This regulation required public water systems like the City of Hamilton to ensure that its water treatment processes minimize potential corrosion of lead and copper plumbing components. The City has been in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule since it became effective.
Hamilton draws its drinking water from the Great Miami Aquifer. The Great Miami Aquifer is recognized as one of the highest quality water sources in the country. The City monitors and tests the quality and safety of its water supply from its wells to customer taps. Hamilton's treatment process is designed to minimize the potential for lead or copper corrosion that could impact drinking water quality in local homes and businesses. As mentioned above, the City has more than 25 years of demonstrated compliance with EPA Lead and Copper Rule requirements.
To help ensure continued compliance, the EPA requires the City to collect 30 lead and copper samples every three years. These samples must be collected from homes believed to have lead service lines or from homes built prior to 1983 that may contain lead-based solder. The latest City water system lead and copper tests were completed in 2015 and resulted in no issues identified. Listed below are some frequently asked questions (FAQs) concerning lead in drinking water:
FAQs Regarding Lead in Drinking Water
Does Hamilton's drinking water contain lead?
There is no detectable lead in Hamilton's drinking water as it exits the water treatment plant or in its water distribution system. However, lead can enter drinking water in a home or business if the structure has a lead service line, lead pipes, or lead-based plumbing solder.
How can I determine whether I have lead pipes at my home?
Metal plumbing pipes are typically made of copper, iron or lead. To test for a lead pipe, take a coin and scratch the water service line entering your home. If the pipe scratches easily and the mark is shiny and silver, then your service line is likely lead and should be replaced. Homes built prior to 1927 are more likely to have lead pipes.
Can I ask the City to test the water in my home for lead?
The City of Hamilton contracts for its lead testing laboratory services. Although the City doesn't provide this service, if you are interested in having such tests performed, the City can provide contact information for certified laboratories that offer lead testing services for a fee.
Does Hamilton water comply with lead regulations?
In 1991, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its Lead and Copper Rule. The City's drinking water has met or exceeded EPA requirements for lead and copper since the Rule was issued. Lead has not been detected in Hamilton's treated water or in the City water distribution system.
What does Hamilton do to help keep lead out of my drinking water?
There is no lead in Hamilton's drinking water leaving the City water treatment plant or in its water distribution system. The municipal water treatment process is designed to minimize the potential for corrosion of home and business plumbing systems that could allow lead to enter your drinking water. The City monitors water quality at the treatment plant, in our distribution system, and collects
periodic lead and copper samples according to EPA requirements to ensure compliance with Lead and Copper Rule requirements.
As a precaution, the City replaces lead service lines when they are discovered during water main replacement projects or when repairing service line leaks. The City replaces these lead lines from the water main to the customer's property line. Customers own the portion of water service lines located on their property and are responsible for their repair and replacement.
I thought that my plumbing was not allowed to have lead components.
Current regulations restrict lead used in plumbing components. However, some older homes may have lead service lines, lead pipes or lead plumbing solder.
Are there steps I can take to help reduce potential lead hazards at my tap?
Water sitting idle in home plumbing systems for extended periods may allow dissolved lead to enter your drinking water. You can reduce this risk by flushing water from your tap prior to using it for drinking or cooking purposes. Flush the tap until the water gets cold. This may take 30 seconds to two minutes. Use only cold water for cooking, drinking or making baby formula.
Where can I get additional information on lead in drinking water?
Additional information regarding lead and copper in drinking water and steps you can take to safeguard your family are available from the EPA at: www.epa.gov. The City of Hamilton annually prepares and distributes a Water Quality Report for its local consumers. Copies of the Water Quality Report are available free of charge at the Hamilton Municipal Building at 345 High Street, Hamilton, or by visiting the City website at http://hamilton-city.org/DocumentCenter/View/1922.