At Cleveland Water, we take the risks associated with lead in drinking water seriously. That is why we have optimized our water treatment process to help protect you and your family from risks associated with lead pipes. Our test results show these treatment techniques are successful, but here is a little more information to help you understand what you can do to help minimize your risk from lead in drinking water.
Lead does not typically come from the treatment plant or water mains in the Cleveland Water System. Instead, if there is lead in the drinking water, it comes from various places between the water main and your faucet.
What You Can Do at Home
Cleveland Water's InfrastructureCleveland Water maintains the water main in the street and the connection between the water main and the curb stop, referred to as the cityside connection. Houses built after 1954 are unlikely to have a lead cityside connection.
Property Owner's ResponsibilityAccording to the American Water Works Association research, the majority of the risk for lead contamination comes from the service line or plumbing on the property owner's side.
Property Owner's Service LineIn terms of customer owned plumbing, the biggest potential source of risk comes from lead service lines.
Property Owner's At-Home PlumbingPotential sources of lead contamination in your home plumbing include copper plumbing with high lead solder installed before 1986 and brass fittings and fixtures installed before 2014.
Do I have a lead cityside connection?
Like many older water systems across the country, the Cleveland Water system does contain some cityside lead connections. Cityside connections are maintained by Cleveland Water. In general, if your home was built after 1954 or your connection is larger than one inch in diameter, it is unlikely that you have a lead cityside connection. To see a map of our service area that shows the percentage of Cleveland Water's cityside connections that are suspected to be lead, click here. If you would like to have your water tested, click here for a list maintained by Ohio EPA of certified laboratories that can test for lead and many other potential contaminants.
Use the search tool below to find out about the cityside connection that serves your property.
Do I have lead plumbing on my property?
Like many older water systems, some homes and businesses in the Cleveland Water System may have lead service lines on their property, or have plumbing that contains lead, copper with high lead solder or brass fixtures that may contain lead.
Here’s a simple test you can do to determine if your part of the service line is made of lead. Take a penny and gently scrape the pipe that comes out of the wall or basement floor before the water meter. There are typically three types of pipe material you could see: lead, copper or galvanized steel. Here is what each type looks like when scratched.
If the scraped area is shiny and silver, your service line is lead. A magnet will not stick to a lead pipe.
|Galvanized Steel Pipe
The scraped area remains dull and gray.
If the scraped area is copper in color, like a penny, your service line is copper. A magnet will not stick to a copper pipe.
|Galvanized Steel Pipe
At times it can be difficult to distinguish between galvanized steel and lead pipes. If a magnet sticks to the surface, your service line is galvanized steel, not lead.
What can I do if I have a lead connection or plumbing?
Cleveland Water utilizes orthophosphate in our treatment process, and our test results submitted to the Ohio EPA indicate it is very successful in protecting customers from risks associated with lead found in cityside connections, property owners' portion of the service connection, and in-home plumbing.
However, if your home has a lead service connection or home plumbing that contains lead, here are some things you can do to even further reduce the possibility of lead in your drinking water.
♦ Before using water for drinking or cooking, turn on the cold tap and let it run for 1 to 2 minutes, particularly if the water has been off and sitting in the pipes in your home for more than 6 hours. You’ll know the water is fresh when the temperature becomes noticeably cooler to the touch.
♦ Note that boiling will not reduce the amount of lead in your water, and can, in fact, concentrate it.
♦ Avoid drinking or cooking with water from the hot water tap. Always use cold water for cooking, drinking and making baby formula. If you want to heat water for these purposes, always heat cold water in a bottle warmer, in the microwave or on the stove.
♦ Periodically clean the aerator on faucets you use for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, or other potable uses. The aerator is the wire screened portion of a faucet where the water comes out. These can be unscrewed from the faucet and taken apart for easy cleaning. Lead containing particles, if present, can get stuck on this wire screen and erode into the water.
♦ If you are concerned and would like extra protection, purchase a point-of-use treatment device certified to remove lead, and make sure it is properly maintained. The device should be certified for potable water use by one of several certifying organizations such as the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), Underwriters Laboratory (UL), or Water Quality Association (WQA).
The Ohio EPA maintains a list of certified laboratories that can test for lead and many other potential contaminants at http://www.epa.ohio.gov/Portals/28/documents/labcert/Chemical%20and%20Microbiological%20Labs.pdf