Steps to Help Protect Your Family From Exposure to Lead in Tap Water
There are several steps homeowners can take to protect themselves and their family from lead in tap water, regardless of whether they have a lead service line.
Flush your home plumbing before consuming water.
- The longer water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain.
- Even if you do not have a lead service line, plumbing fixtures like faucets, valves and solder can contain small amounts of lead, so flushing can still help reduce lead exposure.
- The amount of time you should run the cold water to flush your internal plumbing depends on whether you have a lead service line, the length of the lead service line, and the amount of plumbing in your home – anywhere from 5-30 minutes.
- The most important time to flush is after long periods of no use, such as first thing in the morning, after work, or upon returning from vacation.
- To conserve water, other household water usage activities such as showering, washing clothes, flushing the toilet and running the dishwasher, are effective methods for flushing pipes and allowing water from the distribution system to enter household pipes.
You can purchase a home treatment device to reduce your exposure to lead, but you should make sure it is independently certified for that purpose and properly maintained.
- Home treatment devices use various types of filter materials.
- The effectiveness of these devices in reducing lead can vary greatly, so it is important that the model you select is certified to reduce lead according to NSF/ANSI-53.
- Make sure to maintain the device as specified by the manufacturer. Failure to do so may result in exposure to higher lead levels.
Make sure plumbing products contain the lowest possible levels of lead by purchasing replacement plumbing products that have been tested and certified to “lead-free” standards.
- Look for plumbing products that are NSF-certified and meet Standard NSF/ANSI 61 and/or 372. These products have been certified to meet the new lead-free requirement.
- Products that have not been certified may still meet the new lead-free requirement. If consumers are unable to determine if a product is lead-free, they should contact the manufacturer to confirm the lead content.
- When repairing or installing new plumbing in old homes, use a licensed plumber and instruct him or her, in writing, to use only lead-free materials. When building a new home, be sure lead-free materials are used.
Have water samples from your home analyzed for lead.
- The City of Tulsa will analyze water samples from your home upon request if you are concerned you may have lead in your drinking water. Contact the City of Tulsa Water & Sewer Department at (918) 591-4384 for instructions.
- Plan to continue to have your water analyzed for lead on a regular basis after your service lines and/or plumbing are replaced. There are several private firms who conduct water testing.