Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Test Your Home’s Drinking Water


Information from epa.gov

Testing your home’s drinking water is the only way to confirm if lead is
present. Most water systems test for lead at a certain number of homes
as a regular part of water monitoring. These tests give a system-wide
picture of whether or not corrosion is being controlled, but do not
reflect conditions at each home served by that water system. Since each
home has different plumbing pipes and materials, test results are likely
to be different for each home.

You may want to test your water if your home has lead pipes (lead is a
dull gray metal that is soft enough to be easily scratched with a house
key), or your non-plastic plumbing was installed before 1986.

You can buy lead testing kits in home improvement stores to collect
samples to be sent to a laboratory for analysis. The EPA recommends
sending samples to a certified laboratory for analysis. Your water
supplier may also have useful information, including whether the service
line connecting your home to the water main is made of lead. Find local
contact information for testing your water for lead by calling the
EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.

If your home tests positive for lead:

  • Flush your pipes before drinking, and only use cold water for cooking and drinking. Any
    time the water in a particular faucet has not been used for six hours
    or longer, flush your cold-water pipes by running the water until it
    becomes cold. Contact your water utility provider to verify flushing
    times for your area.

  • Consider replacing lead-containing plumbing fixtures. If
    you are considering this, keep in mind that the Safe Drinking Water Act
    (SDWA) requires that only lead-free pipe, solder, or flux may be used
    in the installation or repair of a public water system, or any plumbing
    in residential or non-residential facility providing water for human
    consumption. “Lead-free” under the SDWA means that solders and flux may
    not contain more than 0.2 percent lead, and pipe, pipe fittings, and
    well pumps may not contain more than 8.0 percent lead. Beginning January
    2014, changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act further reduced the
    maximum-allowable lead content of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing
    fittings, and fixtures to 0.25 percent.

    SDWA also requires plumbing fittings and fixtures intended to
    dispense water for human consumption (e.g., kitchen and bathroom
    faucets) meet a lead-leaching standard. Those fittings and fixtures
    should be certified according to NSF/ANSI Standard 61 for lead

  • Consider alternative sources or treatment of water.
    If you discover that you have high levels of lead in your home, you
    should consider using bottled water or a water filter. There are many
    home water filters that are certified for effective lead reduction, but
    devices that are not designed to remove lead will not work. Verify the
    claims of manufacturers by checking with independent certifying
    organizations. NSF International and the Water Quality Association
    provide lists of treatment devices they have certified. Underwriters
    Laboratories is also a good resource for certified devices. Be sure to
    maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the
    manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality.

Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance procedures.
If not maintained properly, some treatment devices may increase lead
and other contaminant levels.

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