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Frequently Asked Questions about Lead

How does lead get into drinking water?
While Tulsa’s drinking water does not contain lead when it leaves the water treatment plants, trace amounts of lead can come into contact with the drinking water through the corrosion of plumbing materials such as lead service lines, lead solder used in plumbing, and lead or some brass fixtures inside a home.

To protect against this corrosion in plumbing materials, the City of Tulsa operates an extensive corrosion control program. City staff control water chemistry and maintain properties of high quality, non-corrosive water by conducting daily testing of factors such as pH and alkalinity, and they also conduct regular tests of water from household faucets.

In addition, the City of Tulsa does not have lead water mains. The water distribution system that carries water from the treatment plants to your neighborhoods is comprised of different pipe materials, including: cast iron, ductile iron, concrete, steel, galvanized steel, PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and HDPE (high density polyethylene).

Why lead in tap water is a health concern

Do we have any lead service lines in Tulsa?
It is difficult to determine the remaining number of lead service lines in our water system. Since the 1980s, repair crews have been replacing lead service lines and fittings between the water main and a customer’s meter as they are encountered. There are no historical records showing which houses were constructed with lead service lines, or where lead service lines were removed in the 1980s and 1990s.

In our community, some of the private service lines that connect older homes (typically those constructed before 1940) to the utility water main may be made from lead.

What happens if your home tests positive for lead?
If a plumber identifies you have a private service line or believes there is the possibility your home could have lead solder on copper plumbing, the City can analyze your home’s water for lead and advise you of options to eliminate or reduce any health risks. Those options can include: