Out of concern for the public health issue regarding lead in drinking water, here is some valuable information.
Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. Every three years, the District tests for lead at-the-tap of 30 residences in our service area. The 30 homes we sample throughout the District are a representative sample of the homes that might have lead plumbing components. We do this according to the EPA's Lead and Copper Rule. The testing results are used to ensure corrosion control treatment techniques are working. If the water is soft or corrosive, it can accelerate the leaching of lead and other metals from household plumbing and water fixtures.
Our 2014 tests did not detect any lead in any of the homes sampled. Tests for lead are done at the home because lead piping and solder was often used in older homes. Homes built prior to the 1930's had pipes primarily made of lead. After the 1930's and through the 1980's, copper pipes were often used however the solder to connect the pipes contained lead. Lead was a common component of solders used in plumbing until it was banned in 1991.
Corrosive water, as it passed through the Flint water system, appears to have leached lead in service pipes as it reached the homes of some residents. Switching from one water source to another without implementing necessary treatment adjustments appears to be at the root of that community's challenge. The District has never used lead pipes to deliver water to our residents and our system is operated under optimized corrosion control to minimize lead leaching from plumbing materials in older homes.
The District receives a portion of its water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Metropolitan has long imported two supplies, one from the Colorado River and the other from Northern California. Both are naturally low in corrosive qualities. But to ensure that the water that is delivered by the district is consistently so, measurements to monitor corrosion are among the 350-some constituents that are tested by Metropolitan more than 350,000 times a year at their five treatment plants. This means Southern California's drinking water receives almost 1,000 tests every single day.
The District is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. If you are concerned about the possibility of lead leaching from your household pipes, you may wish to have it tested by a certified laboratory. The District can provide the contact information for the lab we use or residents can call the County Health Department for a list. Residents can also get information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps to take to minimize exposure by calling the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or by visiting their website at www.epa.gov/your-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water.
All water agencies are required to produce a Water Quality Report that is mailed to customers in June. You can access the District's latest Water Quality Report here. The report covers everything the District has tested for the previous year and the results.