Auburn, Maine Water District

LEAD AND COPPER RULE: LEAD PUBLIC EDUCATION

How to collect a sample for lead in drinking water – Video link

Lead Brochure

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER

Auburn Water District found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Please read this information closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water.

HEALTH EFFECTS OF LEAD

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.

SOURCES OF LEAD

Lead can be found in many places. Knowing where lead is can help limit your contact with it. Though most cases of lead poisoning in Maine were a result of lead paint dust, you can be exposed to lead through drinking and cooking with water that has lead. Lead can dissolve into water from lead solder or brass faucets, fittings, and valves. Lead can also come from jobs and hobbies that work with lead or lead paint as well as from things you buy such as toys and antiques.

STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM LEAD IN DRINKING WATER

1) Run the water for at least 15 seconds or until it becomes noticeably colder before using it for drinking or cooking. The longer water sits in piping the more lead it may contain.

2) Do not drink or cook with water from the hot water faucet. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water. If you need hot water, use water from the cold water faucet and heat it on the stove or in the microwave.

3) Do not use water from the hot water faucet to prepare baby formula.

4) Boiling the water does not reduce lead levels.

5) Consider using bottled water for drinking and cooking.

6) If you are concerned about lead, contact your health care provider or the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (866-292-3474). You can ask about having you or your child tested for lead.

HOW LEAD GOT INTO YOUR WATER

The most likely reason lead is in your water is because it dissolved from lead solder or out of brass plumbing materials such as faucets, fittings, and valves. The Auburn Water District is currently reviewing our corrosion control treatment to reduce lead leaching from our customer’s plumbing. Lead has not been detected in water from Lake Auburn.

TO FIND OUT MORE

If you have questions, call us at Auburn Water District or visit our website at awsd.org. To learn other ways to protect yourself and your family from lead, visit EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/lead.

TESTING YOUR WATER

To find out how you can get your water tested for lead, contact A&L Laboratory, 207-784-5354, or other State Certified Lab. Your cost should be approximately $25 per test.

LEAD IN HOUSEHOLD PLUMBING MATERIALS

Some household plumbing materials including solder and brass fixtures may contain lead. If you want to make changes to your plumbing, it is important to know that “lead-free” materials are allowed to have up to 0.2% lead (solder) or up to .25% lead (fixtures). Some newer products, including those labeled for sale in California and Vermont, may contain much lower levels of lead.

Frequently Asked Questions about Lead in Drinking Water – Download

Websites with additional information on lead in drinking water:

Environmental Protection Agency

Maine Drinking Water Program