Earlier today we posted an article about free lead in water testing in NYC and since then our comment form has blown up with questions about the program. Below you will find information about the program, its goals, etc. If you want the full story, though, as in the official version as written by officials in New York City, go here now
Lead in Drinking Water from Household Plumbing
Water brought into the City from its reservoir system located upstate has virtually zero lead in it when it reaches the City. The water, however, has the ability to absorb lead from (older lead-containing) solder, certain types of metal fixtures and plumbing found in older buildings.
Therefore, if you live in an older building and/or just want to know more about the possibility that your water may contain dangerous, or at the very least no-so-safe levels of lead, then the following links on New York City’s own web site may prove quite useful:
- Important Information About Lead in Your Drinking Water
- Lead in Household Plumbing Brochure (downloadable PDF)
- Get the Run Your Tap Poster (downloadable PDF)
While we certainly DO applaud NYC’s efforts to inform the general public about the potential dangers posed by lead in its drinking water, and also for proving free lead in water testing to NYC residents who request it, we think the idea of advising millions of people to ‘run the faucet for 30 seconds’ will waste a whole lot of water.
On the other hand, the only other option, forcing building owners to convert over their old, lead-laden plumbing over to newer, safer plumbing components, would cost millions upon millions of dollars. Oh, and good luck trying to enforce THAT mandate in a city that size!
Hmmm… Quite a dilemma: Wasting millions (billions?) of gallons of perfectly good water (before it got to the City) which we will run out of one day to avoid spending 10’s of millions (billions?) of dollars to replace lead-containing components of an aging infrastructure… or biting the bullet and spending the money.
We dare not comment on that last one any more than we already have! We do not have the answers, but that does not mean we don’t think people need to ponder such dilemmas — as we often do.
So where does the leave New Yorkers?
For right now it leaves them with the heads-up that they need to monitor the quality of their tap water AND, at least for now, a free lead in water testing service they can use to assess the amount of lead in their drinking water.
It ALSO puts them in the same category as the rest of us: Responsible for the Quality of the Water We Use.
For a long time many people believed that only private well owners had sole responsibility for monitoring the quality of the water entering their homes… but obviously we can all now see that the miles of piping that may or may not contain lead — or leaks where unwanted contaminants could get in — presents itself as a noteworthy risk to folks with city/municipal water.
Therefore, we feel that everyone ought to consider testing their tap water from time to time. Unexpected leaks can occur at any time and may go undetected for years as they allow innumerable contaminants to enter the water supply, deplete disinfectant levels, and possibly find a nice place to hang out, grow and create new little contaminants of their own in the water supply.
Wow. The imagery from that last statement made us shudder. We hope it had the same effect on all of you.