How is Lead Introduced into my water system?
Lead can be introduced into household drinking water in a number of ways.
Pipes that carry the water from the main distribution pipe
(usually in the street) can be contaminated with lead. Pipes into and in the house can leach some lead into the water. If the house uses copper piping,
it may come via the lead solder joints that are used to seal the copper fittings. Lead may also be present in the interior pipes due to lead leaching from the pipe and its fittings.
How can I see if I have Lead in my water supply?
The only way to determine if lead is in your residence water is to have it tested. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you take action if the lead level exceeds 15 parts-per-billion (15.0 ppb).
Please check with your local water utility or provider to see if they have ways to assist you in testing. If the feed pipe from the street is relatively free from lead contamination, and your interior water taps are at higher or unacceptable levels, then it may be assumed that the contamination is coming from your interior pipes.
If your tests demonstrate higher levels, you can partially mitigate the problem by running the cold water faucet for several minutes before drinking it or using it for food preparation. Lead has a tendency to remain in the pipes, but this flushing will help to reduce the concentration so that you can probably use it. Testing the levels under these circumstances will be helpful.
Lead testing kits, and testing services are available from some utilities and also from private testing labs as well as commercial sources.