A Plumbing Company Explains The Problem With Lead Pipes And What To Do About Them | Oak Ridge, TN
Lead is a durable and affordable metal that is used for all types of construction purposes. Plumbers found its malleability and flexibility a perfect choice for water lines, and soon, lead pipes became the new standard.
However, it didn’t take long for people to see the detrimental health effects of lead. But it wasn’t until 1986 that the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) banned lead from being used in new constructions in the United States.
Despite the ban, community water lines still contain lead pipes. This is mainly because the cost of replacing those lines runs in the billions. According to a survey by the NRDC, Tennessee has at least 74,000 lead service lines.
While some cities and states have done a lot to reduce lead pipes, there’s still a long way to go. Luckily, homeowners can do a couple of things to protect themselves and their loved ones from the adverse effects of lead.
Read on to learn more about how lead affects your health, how to know if your home has lead pipes, what to do about them, and when to call a plumbing company.
Lead and Your Health
Lead exposure harms the health of young children and infants the most. The CDC states that there are no safe blood lead levels in children. Even small amounts that have almost no effects on adults harm children. Lead poisoning in children can cause stunted growth, brain damage, and learning problems.
Lead also has severe effects on pregnancy. Lead accumulates in the body over time and can be released during pregnancy, affecting the fetus’s growth or leading to premature birth. In older adults, lead poisoning can affect the kidneys, blood pressure, and reproductive health.
How to Tell If You Have Lead Pipes
Several steps can help you determine if you have a lead problem. Lead can be found in your home’s plumbing system or the water utility line connecting to your home. Although some of the things you can do yourself, others will require the help of a plumbing company.
- Test Your Water
The easiest way to find out if there is lead in your tap water is to test it. You can get it tested at the local health department or a certified laboratory. Your plumbing company may also offer water testing. When collecting your water sample, you want to take it in the morning because it has stood in the line for a while.
- Do A Physical Search
If the lab reports show an unsafe amount of lead in your water, you need to start digging. You’ll want to check the plumbing in your home, especially if it was built before 1986. You may need the help of a local plumbing company to help you determine what type of material the pipes, fittings, and fixtures are made of.
Even if the house does not contain lead pipes, the main water line connecting your home with the service line could contain another material. Your plumbing company will also have to dig up that part and check the service line.
- Check With Local Authorities
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires community water systems to provide consumers with a yearly water quality report. The Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) explains where the water comes from and breaks down the level of contaminants in the water. You can download the report online or get it from your water utility.
You can also contact the city council or the water department. They may have records of the repairs or upgrades previous homeowners did. They should also be able to tell you if the service line to your home is made of lead.
What to Do About Lead in Your Tap Water
Once you have determined that your drinking water has been contaminated by lead, there are several things you can do to reduce or eliminate it.
- Use Water Filters
Probably the best solution is to buy a point-of-use water filter. This filter attaches to the kitchen faucet and will filter all water used for drinking and cooking. It would help if you made sure that the filter is certified by the NSF or another independent organization.
Not all filters that claim to filter lead do so efficiently. Additionally, depending on the size of the appliance, it will have to be installed by your plumbing company.
- Repipe Your Home
If your home has lead pipes, you should consider replacing them. This, however, will not eliminate the lead that originates outside your home. You may still need a water filter. A home replumb is costly and should be done by a professional plumbing company.
- Buy Bottled Water
You can also buy approved and tested bottled water for cooking and drinking, though this will be very expensive in the long run and harmful to the environment.
- Only Use Cold Water
Because hot water dissolves lead faster than cold water, you should only use cold tap water for cooking and drinking. Boiling the water will not get rid of the lead, either.
Lead poisoning shows no symptoms, and only a blood test can determine the level of exposure. If you think you or your family are at risk, visiting a healthcare provider near you is essential.
Get Expert Advice from My Professional Plumber
My Professional Plumber is your trusted plumbing company. If you need plumbing repairs or installation, our trained and licensed plumbers will take care of your situation promptly and efficiently.
Plumbing problems often appear out of the blue and can be pretty costly. That’s why we offer our customers in Oak Ridge, TN competitive rates and financing options. If you want to know more about our services and the benefits of hiring our plumbing company, call My Professional Plumber today.
See our previous post on this topic here.
Photo By micmacpics at Shutterstock