Lead is a naturally occurring metal which has been used in a wide variety of products including drinking water service lines and plumbing materials. Service lines are the pipes that bring water from the provider to your house. Lead service lines were common in the U.S. until the mid 1950s.
The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 intended to protect the quality of drinking water and ultimately banned the use of lead in pipes, solder and other plumbing materials by 1986. However, lead pipes installed previously, still exist. Lead in drinking water typically occurs because these lead-containing pipes and plumbing materials corrode over time.
Minimizing lead exposure, particularly for children, is one of the department’s public health goals. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no safe level of lead in blood. Even at low levels, a child’s exposure to lead can be harmful. Learn more about lead by reviewing the fact sheets below.
As part of the Lead and Copper Rule, optimal corrosion control treatment (OCCT) may be required to minimize lead at customer’s drinking water taps. Determining the OCCT involves reviewing treatment alternatives to decrease the amount of corrosion that occurs within drinking water pipes. Corrosion is what contributes to lead being released into drinking water from lead service lines, lead solder in copper pipes, or from certain fixtures containing lead.
Forms, tools and guidance for public water systems and water operators regarding the Lead and Copper Rule.