Water officials in Denver have cautioned families to run their water before using it. A recent test by Denver Water indicated that the drinking water in one of eight homes may be contaminated with lead.
The water company took samples from Denver tap water at 60 homes and determined that the lead concentrations exceeded Environmental Protection Agency standards. The EPA has set a lead limit for safe drinking water at 15 parts per billion. The tests showed that the lead concentration exceeded that standard by nearly four times the safe level.
This excessive lead level is now present in 13 percent of Denver homes. That’s up from eight percent in 2011. This is the highest amount recorded in 12 years, according to Denver Water.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment director of disease control and environmental epidemiology, Dr. Lisa Miller, urged residents to take proactive steps to minimize lead levels. The best action to reduce lead levels is to run the tap water for a minute or so to clear the waterlines. Another proactive step is to mount a water filter that will catch contaminants. The best solution, though, is to replace the old lead pipes that deliver water to the home. That replacement is the responsibility of the owner of the home.
Lead contaminates water as the lead pipes grow old and flakes of lead fall off. This lead leeches into the water and comes out of the tap. Running the tap before using the water will flush the lead particles out of the pipe.
The homes most affected appear to be those built in the mid-1950s and earlier. About 24 percent of all homes in Denver County were constructed before 1939. Another 28 percent were constructed between 1940 and 1958. Although water drawn from the mountains is safer, homeowners there need to be aware of lead pipe deterioration.
This lead contamination finding will require Denver Water to step up water testing with greater frequency. Utilities will also be required to test water at various sources for contamination. Corrosion studies will also be done. This may require Denver sewer repair.
Medical professionals say that lead is hazardous when it builds up concentrations in the body. Lead contamination can affect the kidneys, brain, nervous system and red blood cells. Lead is especially harmful to pregnant women and children under the age of six.
With this finding by Denver Water, the citizens here should take necessary precautions to prevent lead contamination. The most simple measures include running the tap water before using it and attaching a water filter to the tap.
If in doubt whether or not your pipes should be replaced, please contact Apex Plumbing, Denver Sewer Repair.