ESWA has been dealing with the possibility of lead exposure from drinking water for several years. Lead does not come from the water treatment plant or the 450 miles of water mains that provide water service to our customers. Even so, lead may be found in service lines connecting the water main to the home, old plumbing fixtures or from the lead-based solder (banned in 1986) that connects pipes. In order to reduce the possibility of lead getting into the tap water, the ESWA adds a corrosion inhibitor, at the water treatment plant, that creates a barrier between the drinking water and the inside of the pipe.
ESWA continues to follow the sampling and testing procedures for lead required by the US Environmental Protection Agency and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Samples are taken from a customer's tap that has not been used for at least six hours. This stagnation period allows the water to remain in contact with any lead and copper so that if there is any leaching of lead and copper, results will be at their highest level.
Test results continue to be well below the action levels set by the regulatory agencies.
ESWA will continue to develop programs and procedures to reduce potential lead exposure in the drinking water. Although our annual program to replace lead service lines from the water main to the curb will continue, homes built 40 or more years ago may be faced with replacing service and internal lines.
There are other sources, other than water, which contribute to lead exposure risks. The Pennsylvania Department of Health identifies lead-based paint and dust as the leading source of lead exposure. Their website says:
"The leading cause of lead poisoning is lead dust from lead-based paint, which was used in many homes until 1978. Young children are exposed to lead dust in older homes through normal everyday activities such as crawling on the floor and putting their hands, toys or other objects in their mouths. Lead can also be found in some imported spices, home remedies, and cosmetics."
Other sources identified by Health agencies include: