Hamilton, Ohio -
Many local water consumers may have read or heard recent accounts of drinking water quality issues in Flint, Michigan, and Sebring, Ohio. 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 into 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's 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.
The City is required 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's lead and copper tests were completed in 2015 and resulted in no issues identified. Listed below are some frequently asked questions (FAQ's) 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 City 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 find out if there is lead in the water 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. The City of Hamilton can test your water if you have a lead water service line.
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 water has met or exceeded EPA requirements for lead and copper in its drinking water since the Rule was issued. Lead has not been detected in Hamilton's treated water, or in its 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 as it leaves 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.
What happened in Flint, Michigan and can it happen in Hamilton?
Flint previously received its drinking water from the City of Detroit. Flint is under a financial emergency, so the City switched its drinking water source to treated water from the Flint River to save money. Proper corrosion control was not included in the new water treatment process.Corrosion resulted in discolored water and elevated lead levels in some local homes.
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 water until it 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 further safeguard your family are available from the EPA at: www.epa.gov. The City of Hamilton annually prepares 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://www.hamilton-city.org/DocumentCenter/View/1476.