Since the issue of water with lead contamination came to the surface in Flint, Michigan, Lee Service has been receiving a growing number of inquiries from our customers about lead.
You can’t see, taste or smell lead in your water. The only way to be sure your water is safe is to have it tested.
It is extremely important that we not downplay the negative implications of exposing our families to lead contamination in our water. At increased risk are young people, especially infants. The World Health Organization has found that lead poisoning has been shown to cause lower IQ and increased behavioral issues in children.
Lead is an issue if discovered in water you drink or cook with. It is not generally an issue for water used for bathing or non-indigestible cleaning.
Kenosha has a great water utility and a great water resource in Lake Michigan. Our water utility is recognized as a leader in bringing pure, clean water to the homes of our residents. You can be confident that the water that arrives at our homes from the water processing plant is safe.
However, homes that were built before 1986 may still have some exposure to potential lead poisoning from pipes that were installed prior to that date.
Water to be tested should be drawn from a faucet that hasn’t been used for six hours. This will enable the lab to understand if the pipes leading to your home contain poisonous lead and are putting your family at risk. Water to be tested should be drawn from a faucet that has had the aerator removed.
If it is determined that the lead pipes leading to your house are increasing your family’s risk to lead exposure, Lee Service can help you understand what is involved in replacing your pipes, either entirely or partially, to mitigate that exposure.
In the meantime, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Use only cold water for drinking and/or cooking – lead is less of an issue in cold water. Lead dissolves easily in hot water. It should be noted that lead is NOT removed by boiling the water.
- Always run your faucet for three minutes to flush out standing water before drawing what is needed for cooking or drinking.
- Clean your aerator regularly to be sure that it is not capturing lead that ultimately makes its way into your cooking/drinking water. Again, flush the system while the aerator is off.
- Consider purchasing filters for your system. This is not the ultimate solution. But it can help you provide water that is cleaner and safer.
The United States EPA says anything under 15 parts per billion is the threshold you should be striving for. Anything over that is problematic and you should consult with a certified plumbing contractor to explore options for keeping you and your family safe from contaminated water.
Residents of Kenosha (and Racine) are fortunate to have such a great water resource available in Lake Michigan. Even the residents of the western areas of Kenosha and Racine counties who rely on wells for their water have been safe, for the most part, from the kinds of lead contamination that has plagued other American cities.
The best way to know if clean water being delivered to your home, and that it stays clean in your pipes after it arrives there, is to have it tested and for you to consult with your friends at Lee Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric. We take great pride in keeping Kenosha families secure in the knowledge that their drinking and cooking water is safe and clean.