The Rhode Island Department of Health (HEALTH) today released the results of its study on the effects partial replacement of lead service lines has on the levels of lead in drinking water. The study demonstrates that replacing even portions of underground water pipes (service lines) made of lead results in significantly lower levels of lead in drinking water. Of the homes that participated in the evaluation, the total amount of lead at the tap dropped between 35 and 80 percent. HEALTH also found that flushing water taps inside the home when water has not been used for several hours or when work has been done on the plumbing can help to reduce lead levels in drinking water. To see the complete study results, visit http://www.health.ri.gov/publications/projectreports/EffectOfPartialLeadServiceLineReplacementOnTotalLeadAtTheTap.pdf
“These results show that after portions of service lines are replaced, the lead levels are significantly lower,” said Interim Director of Health Michael Fine, MD. “This is good news. We still recommend that the service line from the street to the house should also be replaced to completely eliminate any lead-containing service lines, but we also realize that not every property owner can afford to pay for that to be done.”
The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that all community water systems with lead exceeding the action level replace seven percent of lead service lines every year. Providence Water Supply Board began replacing lead service lines in 2006, and to date, has replaced more than 30% of them.
To help reduce lead in drinking water, HEALTH recommends: · Run water from the faucet until it is cold before using it for drinking or cooking. · Do not use hot water from the faucet for drinking, cooking or making baby formula. (Lead in pipes is more likely to mix with hot water.) · Replace lead pipes and plumbing fixtures in your home. · Remove and clean aerators from time to time during the year or after plumbing work has been done in your home.
For information about drinking water in Rhode Island, visit http://www.health.ri.gov/drinkingwaterquality/index.php For information about lead poisoning and how to prevent it, visit http://www.health.ri.gov/healthrisks/poisoning/lead/