Lead is not common in the drinking water distributed by New Kent Public Utilities, however, it is a common metal that has been in many consumer products and is now known to be harmful to your health if ingested or inhaled. It can be found in lead-based paint, air, soil, household dust, food, some types of pottery and drinking water. Lead is rarely found in natural sources of water such as rivers, lakes, wells or springs.
Lead may work its way into drinking water after the water entered the distribution system and is on its way to consumer taps. This usually happens through the corrosion of materials containing lead in household plumbing. These material include brass faucets, lead solder on copper pipes, lead pipes, or lead service lines connecting the water main to the inside plumbing. Lead pipes are no longer installed for service lines or in household plumbing and lead solder has been outlawed in Virginia since 1985.
There are several steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. These include:
- Run your water to flush out lead. If water hasn't been used for several hours, allow the water to run at the tap for 15-30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap as lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water does not remove lead.
- Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. New brass faucets, fittings and valves, including those advertised as "lead-free," may contribute to lead in drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8 % lead to be labeled as "lead-free." Visit the National Sanitation Foundation's website to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures.