What You Need to Know About Lead in Drinking Water

What You Need to Know About Lead in Drinking Water

Indiana American Water takes great measures to reduce the potential for lead to leach from your pipes into drinking water. We perform regular testing of treated water to ensure the water exiting our treatment facilities is not contaminated with lead. We also utilize corrosion inhibitors or adjust water pH to minimize the likelihood that lead will leach into your drinking water from your home’s plumbing piping.

Because service lines, faucet fixtures, household pipes, and/or solder can contribute significantly to lead and copper levels in tap water, we also work with customers to monitor for lead and copper in their homes. These samples are collected on a routine basis at homes that are considered vulnerable based on when they were constructed and the materials used. We do this monitoring according to the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule and use the results to confirm that our corrosion control strategy is operating as intended.

Below, learn about the risk factors that may cause lead in your drinking water, and how to minimize your exposure.

Risk Factors for Lead in Drinking Water

  • Lead in your plumbing system. If your home’s plumbing system utilizes lead piping or solder, it is possible that lead could leach into your home’s water. If your home was constructed before 1930 and contains the original plumbing system, it is more likely that lead components were used. If your home was built prior to January 1986, lead solder may have been used to connect plumbing joints.
  • Electrical grounding connected to plumbing system. When a home’s grounding wires are connected to plumbing, it can elevate the risk of lead exposure as well as corrosion to the pipes.
  • Home treatment devices. Certain home treatment devices, such as water softeners for example, might increase lead levels in your water. Always consult the device manufacturer for information on potential impacts to your drinking water or household plumbing.

Minimizing Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

Lead in drinking water does not produce a taste or smell, nor is it visible. Testing by a certified laboratory will tell you if lead exists in your home’s water.

There are steps you can take to minimize your family’s exposure to lead from drinking water.

  • Flush your taps. If your taps have not been used for six or more hours, flush your taps before using or consuming water. Run your cool water tap for 30 seconds to two minutes prior to filling a glass to drink or use water for cooking. Instead of wasting the flushed water down the drain, catch it and use to water your houseplants or garden!
  • Use cold water. Water from your hot water tap has the potential to contain more lead than cold water. If you need hot water for a beverage or cooking, use cold water from the tap, and heat water on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • Examine your plumbing. Lead pipes are a dull grey color and scratch easily revealing a shiny surface. The best way to know what kind of plumbing and service lines you have in your home is to hire a licensed plumber.  Remove any existing loose lead solder and debris from your piping and use only lead-free material when making repairs to your pipes. If your home is new or your pipes have recently been replaced, take the strainers off your faucets and flush the taps for 3 to 5 minutes each.
  • Go lead free. Whenever replacing plumbing components in your home, look for products that are lead free.
  • Clean aerators. Make it part of your regular home maintenance routine to take aerators off each faucet and clean them to remove debris.

Indiana American Water is committed to delivering clean, healthy water to your home. We regularly test water for lead to ensure you are protected from exposure to lead at home, and utilize corrosion inhibitors to lower your risk of exposure. If you have questions about lead in drinking water, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline site. You can also visit us online to learn more at https://amwater.com/inaw/water-quality/lead-and-drinking-water