How’s Your Water, North Texas?
Jan 22, 2014 08:35AM
● By Anonymous
New Federal Regulation Regarding Lead in Water
Sponsored by Berkeys Air Conditioning and Plumbing
It’s a New Year for our water system. Congress enacted the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act on January 4, 2011 to revise the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) regarding the use of lead pipes, fittings or fixtures, solder and flux. The law makes it illegal to sell or install pipes, fittings and fixtures for transporting water for human consumption that have a lead content exceeding 0.25%. The Act established an effective date of January 4, giving public utilities, government agencies and others three years to make a transition to the new rules. With this new law, repairs and improvements to our pipes may impact our water usage.
Lead is a common metal found in natural deposits. It’s used in household plumbing materials and service lines. It’s rarely found in our water sources. Lead enters our water through corrosion of plumbing materials. However, even “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8% lead. Most copper, brass or chrome-plated pipes, as well as faucets or fixtures are bonded together using lead soldering, which can leach lead into the water — especially hot water.
Lead can cause various adverse health effects. In infants and children, it can cause delays in physical and mental development; deficits in attention span and learning abilities. In adults, it can cause increases in blood pressure and kidney problems.
Any water, including bottled water, is expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminant. However, this doesn’t mean that the water isn’t safe. Dallas Water Utilities tests the water 40,000 to 50,000 times every month. The water provided is considered non-corrosive — meaning that it’s less likely to leach lead from pipes. Almost all water treatment facilities have a “multi-barrier system” in place that’s supposed to keep the bad stuff out even when one of the barriers fails. Dallas Water Utilities and the City of Ft. Worth both provide their annual Water Quality Report on their websites.
Contamination can occur between the facility and our faucets. When public utilities repair or improve our water supply system, they may expose old lead pipes and solder, which may temporarily increase the lead content of the water. Most homeowners don’t know that work on the water supply system is being done or that the water may be contaminated. Under federal guidelines, utility companies are rarely required to inform residents.
In addition to lead, our pipes may contain bacteria, metals, chemicals and minerals. Some of them may interact with our pipes, which may cause additional exposure to other metals. Luckily, home improvement stores carry home-testing kits that include lead and other metals, bacteria, and common pesticides. These water test kits are relatively easy to use, but research them carefully. Your plumbing professionals may have better testing services.
Once it’s determined what is in our water, we can install treatment systems to remedy any issues. Water treatment devices can improve the water quality by reducing health hazards and help remove nuisance problems, odors or hardness. Water treatment systems generally use one or a combination of treatments, like disinfection, filtration, reverse osmosis, distillation, and ion exchange (water softeners). There are benefits to each system. Before you make any decisions, you should call your certified plumber.
Berkeys is an award winning home service company, providing quality plumbing, air conditioning, and heating services to homeowners in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex for over 35 years.
All of our technicians, are background-checked, drug tested and have passed rigorous state examinations and are licensed by the State of Texas; they understand the complexity of state codes all the way down to local requirements.