If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The Springfield Utility Board (SUB) is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or on the Environmental Protection Agency website.
No. Tests show there is no detectable lead in any of SUB’s five sources. Lead seldom occurs naturally in water supplies.
No. SUB has never used lead water mains.
No. Tests show there is no detectable lead in SUB’s pipe distribution system.
No. SUB has never used lead service lines in its water system.
Not that we know of, but we are currently confirming that they have all been removed. SUB’s records show that the only lead connectors in our system were on water mains installed prior to 1949. To ensure there are no remaining lead connectors in the water system, SUB is digging up water services from 1949 and earlier that have never been replaced. If a lead connector is found it will be removed and replaced with new, lead-free piping material.
A lead connector is a short piece of flexible piping that runs from the water main to the public side service line pipe (as shown in diagram). Lead connectors, installed in the first half of the 20th century, were used because they are durable and easily bent. Modern installations use flexible lead-free piping materials for the service line and do not need separate connectors.
There can be. When water stands for several hours in plumbing systems that contain lead, the lead may dissolve into your drinking water. If your home was built before 1986, it may have copper pipes with lead solder. In addition, any faucet purchased before 1997 may be constructed of brass containing up to 8% lead. More recent federal legislation has mandated, as of January 4, 2014, that all pipe, fittings, and fixtures may contain no more than 0.25% lead.
Yes. Drinking water lead levels have met the regulated standard since testing started in 1992.
The greatest exposure risk to lead comes from swallowing lead paint chips or breathing dust that contains lead. Common sources of lead exposure include lead-based paint, household dust, soil, and materials used in plumbing.
Yes. SUB has installed highly effective treatment processes that reduces the amount of lead leached from private plumbing fixtures and pipe solder.
The lead standard for drinking water is 15 parts per billion (ppb). If more than 10 percent of tested taps have more than 15 ppb of lead, the public water system would be out of compliance and must take certain actions. SUB has not exceeded this standard. Drinking water with more than 15 ppb of lead over long periods of time can cause health effects.
Exposure to lead in drinking water can cause serious health effects in all age groups. Infants and children can have decreases in IQ and attention span. Lead exposure can lead to new learning and behavior problems or exacerbate existing learning and behavior problems. The children of women who are exposed to lead before or during pregnancy can have increased risk of these adverse health effects. Adults can have increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney or nervous system problems.
Run your water to flush out lead.
Before using water for drinking or cooking, run the water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until it becomes colder from the tap, especially if the water has not been used for many hours. This flushes water that may contain lead from the pipes.
Use cold, fresh water for cooking, drinking, and preparing baby formula.
Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
Regularly clean your faucet aerator.
Particles containing lead from solder or household plumbing can become trapped in your faucet aerator. Regularly cleaning every few months will remove these particles and reduce your exposure to lead.
Consider buying low-lead faucets.
As of January 2014, all pipes, fittings, and fixtures are required to contain less than 0.25% lead, which is termed “lead-free”.
Consider investing in a filter.
Before you buy, confirm that the filter reduces lead – not all filters do. Remember that bacteria and other contaminants can collect in filters if not properly maintained, making water quality worse, not better.
Download the Lead & Drinking Water (PDF) from the Oregon Health Authority for more information.