Elevated levels of lead found in drinking water in Center
Letters to City of Center water customers informing them of levels of lead in the city's drinking water were mailed this week.
“The City of Center found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in the building(s) or residences during June 6-7, 2019,” the letter read. “Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children.”
The letter asks patrons to read the information provided closely to see what they can do to reduce lead in their drinking water.
Center City Manager Chad Nehring said the city's water delivery system itself has little or no lead pipe in use.
“Our system has little to no lead pipe, so other than natural occurring levels in raw water, controlled with treatment, any measurable lead is in the household (private) pipes,” Nehring said. The city is required by the Texas Environmental Protection Agency to nonetheless send notifications out when there are high lead levels detected in samples collected.
“Although most sinks (tested in June) had low levels of lead in the drinking water, some had high lead levels above the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb), or 0.015 milligrams of lead per liter of water,,” the letter read.
While this level is not a violation of under state or federal law, it does prompt the city have to post information concerning public education on lead.
Nehring said in Center there one sampled site in particular which has been advised of the health risk and likely need to re-plumb their house.
“As part of the notice, we will assist any customer with sampling and testing of their pipes but most houses built prior to the 1980’s typically contain all copper or possibly lead pipe and certainly lead solder which over time does leach,” he said.
“I know with some national headlines, especially Flint, (Michigan) some may anticipate concerns, Nehring said. “Unlike many of those making headlines, ours is not a violation or system problem, but did unusually have enough samples that elevated to requiring notice.
“Our limited sample sites are actually households and private services for this periodic testing and have historically been well below the action levels such that our system has been on the reduced monitoring cycles,” he said.
“This year, my understanding is one household sample in particular was so far above the action level for lead (not copper), that it pushed the average over the action limit, requiring the notices and additional system monitoring for two quarters,” Nehring said.
Lead has been linked to serious health problems if too much enters the body from drinking water or other sources, the city's letter said. “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 a body.
“The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children and pregnant women,” it said. “Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children.”
EPA Suggesions to Reduce Your Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water at Home
Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Boiling water does not remove lead from water.
Regularly clean your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator).
Consider using a water filter certified to remove lead and know when it’s time to replace the filter.
Before drinking, flush your pipes by running your tap, taking a shower, doing laundry or a load of dishes.
Contact your water system to learn more about sources of lead and removing lead service lines.