HOW CAN LEAD GET INTO DRINKING WATER?
The water supply has virtually no lead in it, but once the drinking water enters a customer’s property, it may come in contact with piping, solder, faucets or plumbing fixtures which contain lead. While water sits in contact with these features, small amounts of lead can dissolve into the water.
HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE LEAD PLUMBING?
You cannot taste, smell, or see lead in water. Lead plumbing pipes are generally a dull gray color and are very soft. If you carefully scratch a pipe with a key or coin, the scratched area on a lead pipe will turn a bright silver color. Galvanized (Steel) piping can also be dull gray in color. A strong magnet will typically cling to galvanized pipes, but will not cling to lead pipes or copper plumbing which has the same color as a copper penny. Plastic water pipes are often blue or black but can be another color and are usually easily identifiable.
In some homes, copper or galvanized (steel) pipes were connected using lead solder. These connections have a characteristic solder bulb or bubble. Use this guide to identify the water service line inside your home.
WHERE DO I FIND MY WATER SERVICE LINE?
Service lines typically enter the home in the basement and connect to your water meter. Test the pipe with a magnet or by scratching with a coin as shown in the diagram below.
If you identify your service line is made of lead or galvanized piping, please call our office at 860-647-3217.
STEPS TO MINIMIZE EXPOSURE TO LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER
- Run the Tap Before Use - Lead levels increase when water has been sitting in the pipe for several hours. Clear this water from your pipes by running the cold water for several minutes, which allows you to draw fresh water from the water main in the street. You can capture this water in a pitcher or bucket for house plants or to flush toilets.
- Always use the cold water tap for cooking and preparing baby formula
- Look for alternative sources or treatment of water - Information on certified water filters or faucet filters that remove lead can be found here
- Remove and clean faucet aerators regularly
- Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead - older faucets, fittings, and valves inside your home may contribute to lead in your drinking water.
- Replace any lead service lines leading from the property line to your home - Licensed plumbers and contractors can perform this work.
MANCHESTER LEAD SERVICE LINE INVENTORY
In order to meet State and Federal regulations, the Manchester Water and Sewer Department will be collecting information regarding water service line pipe materials. Sources of information may include a visual inspection of a customer's service line material inside the home. We expect to submit the inventory of water service line materials by the October 2024 deadline. See our informational flyer(PDF, 2MB) on service line inspections.
RESOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD
Health Effects of Lead Exposure - Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water - United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Information regarding EPA's Service Line Inventory requirements under the Revised Lead and Copper Rule