Another story about lead in water? Really? Yes. We will keep posting stories about elevated levels of lead in drinking water until we stop finding them. Today’s lead in water story comes to you from New York City.
Apparently the results of random water tests conducted earlier this year revealed that lead levels in water from faucets in buildings known to still contain lead in their plumbing seem to have started leaching higher levels of lead into the water they carry — and that has prompted public health officials in New York City to advise residents to run their water for 30 seconds before collecting any for use.
What does running the water do? Simple: It allows water that has sat in contact with lead service lines or plumbing that possibly contains lead to get flushed out. Water that sits stagnant in the line can pick up metals over time and longer it sits, the more metals it could possibly pick up.
New York City health and environmental officials on Thursday advised residents to run their tap water for at least 30 seconds before drinking or cooking with it after testing showed a rise in the percentage of homes with elevated levels of lead.
The city is required to test for lead in tap water each year under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. In tests conducted from June to September in homes in older buildings known to have lead in their plumbing, 30 of 222 samples — or about 14 percent — exceeded allowable lead levels.
Last year, only 5.4 percent of the samples had elevated levels, city officials said.
The officials emphasized that the results did not pose a health threat and that lead levels have been in decline since the 1990s. But the federal Environmental Protection Agency, which defines samples above 15 parts per billion as elevated, requires public notification whenever more than 10 percent of the samples exceed that level.
The tests found levels in the range of 16 to 30 parts per billion. ( source )
Did anyone but us catch that?
“The officials emphasized that the results did not pose a health threat and that lead levels have been in decline since the 1990s.” Please tell us WHY that has any relevance to the importance of the current findings and should make people feel better about their tap water containing elevated levels of lead TODAY.
The article mentioned how the USEPA believes lead levels in drinking water at or above 15 parts per billion demand immediate action to avoid cause harm to humans, especially unborn children and young children, if they consume the water. So… please tell us again why levels of lead greater than the EPA’s guideline shouldn’t make people want to run out get their tap water tested right away.
Sorry, Charlie, but if those health and water officials recognize that lead in water can cause irreparable damage, and that the levels of lead recently detected exceed those deemed safe by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, then it makes no sense for them to imply that those elevated lead levels ought not make people nervous.
One good thing: Free Lead in Water Testing in NYC
The same folks who said the elevated levels should not serve as cause for serious alarm have also made lead in water testing available to the public (in New York City)… for free.
Yes, we said, “FREE.” The City of New York has a free lead in water testing program in place (verified: November 29, 2010) for residents concerned that their building’s plumbing may have contributed lead to their tap water.