Lead contamination has become a critical topic in the water industry in recent years as communities across the country work to remove lead sources from their drinking water supplies. Aqua America is educating the public about the importance of detecting lead in drinking water during Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which is being marked this year from October 23 - 29.

Aqua wants customers to be informed about the health risks of lead exposure and understand how they can work with Aqua to ensure their drinking water is safe. There are two potential sources of lead contamination in drinking water: lead service lines that deliver water directly into homes from the water mains in the street, and household plumbing containing lead solder and brass fixtures. Contrary to popular belief, lead is not typically found in streams, reservoirs or wells that supply water to homes.

"As a leading water utility, our number one priority is delivering safe, reliable drinking water to our customers," said Christopher Crockett, Ph.D., chief environmental officer of Aqua America. "Lead Poisoning Prevention Week provides a great opportunity to increase awareness about the dangers of lead exposure and make sure our customers understand the importance of checking their home for lead sources."

Aqua conducts required testing for drinking water contaminants, including lead and copper, to ensure compliance with state and federal drinking water standards. The company also treats corrosive water with a corrosion inhibitor to decrease the rate of lead that leaches into water from pipes and fixtures.

In addition, Aqua tests for lead in high-risk sample homes to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) lead and copper rule. As standard practice, Aqua replaces their portion of any lead service lines if found during maintenance and construction activities. If Aqua finds lead in the portion of the service line owned by the customer, they strongly encourage the customer to replace it.

If a customer's water shows elevated levels of lead, or if they are concerned about the potential of lead in their water, Aqua has tips to minimize exposure:

  • Run your tap to flush out lead. If your water hasn't been used for several hours, run water for at least 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.
  • Use cold water to cook and prepare baby formula. Don't boil water to reduce lead. Lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Boiling water won't reduce lead.
  • If you buy a water filter, make sure it's approved to reduce lead. You can contact NSF International at 800.NSF.8010 or NSF.org to learn more about approved water filters.
  • Be aware that brass faucets, fittings and valves - even those advertised as lead free - might contribute lead to drinking water. The law allows end-use fixtures, such as faucets, with wetted surfaces containing a maximum weighted average of 0.25 percent lead to be labeled as lead free.
  • If you are concerned about exposure, contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get tested for lead.

For more information on reducing lead exposure in your home, visit AquaAmerica.com. Aqua customers can also call Aqua at 877.987.2782 for information about having their water tested for lead.

Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based, publicly traded water utilities and serves nearly 3 million people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.

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