Richmond VA > Public Utilities > Lead In Water

Last Updated: 2017-05-19

Get the lead out! Good - Flush pipes before use and avoid consuming hot water from the tap. Better - Install a lead filtration system. Best - Replace lead pipes and install a lead filtration system.

Sources of Lead

Lead can get into tap water through home service piping, lead solder used in plumbing, and some brass fixtures. Even though the use of lead solder was banned in the U.S. in 1986, it might still be present in older homes. The corrosion of these lead-based materials can add lead to tap water, particularly if water sits for an extended time in pipes, for instance, in the morning, after sitting overnight, when you return from work or from a trip away.

Health Effects of Lead

If too much lead enters your body from drinking water or other sources, serious problems can occur. It can damage the brain and kidneys and interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body.

The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, the elderly and pregnant women. Effects of lead in the brain have been linked to lower IQs in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by even low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and can be released later in life. During pregnancy, lead from the mother's bones can be passed to the unborn child, which may affect brain development.

If high levels of lead are found in drinking water, water may contribute up to 20 percent of a person's exposure to lead, 60 percent for an infant who consumes mostly formula mixed with water containing lead.

DPU's Efforts

Since the program started in 1992, we have been in compliance for lead and copper levels. DPU uses corrosion control measures required by the state and EPA to prevent lead from leaching out of lead pipes and plumbing fixtures. Ten specific locations are monitored every six months to confirm our corrosion control measures and we routinely monitor lead and copper at 50 locations throughout our service area.

How to Reduce Your Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

FLUSH YOUR SYSTEM. Fresh water is better than sitting water. If your water has been sitting for several hours, run the water for 15-30 seconds until it feels noticeably cooler before drinking or cooking with it. Never drink or cook with the water that comes out of the hot tap.

USE COLD WATER FOR PREPARING BABY FORMULA. Do not prepare baby formula with water that comes from the hot tap.

BOILING WATER DOES NOT REMOVE OR REDUCE LEAD.

CLEAN THE SCREEN. Periodically remove and clean the faucet screen/aerator. While removed, run the water to eliminate debris.

TEST YOUR HOME FOR LEAD. Have the water tested by a state certified laboratory. For more information, contact the East Central Field Office of the Virginia Department of Drinking Water at 804-674-2880.

TEST YOUR CHILD FOR LEAD. Contact your child's pediatrician. A blood lead level test is the best way to know if your child is being exposed to lead.

IF YOUR PLUMBING FIXTURES CONTAIN LEAD consider installing low-lead or no-lead fixtures, but continue to flush sitting water and avoid using hot water for cooking.

HOMEOWNERS are responsible for maintenance of the water service lines from the property line to their home. Homeowners interested in replacing the lead piping on their side may contact the City of Richmond's Lead Service Hotline at 804-646-8600 to coordinate lead line replacement with the city's lead service line replacement.

RVA Impact Map displays projects (i.e. gas, water, paving, etc.), events (i.e. parades, races, block parties, etc.) and right of way impacts (i.e. detours, partial and full lane closures, barricades, parking restrictions, etc.) as an interactive map for informational and navigational purposes. Data displayed is refreshed as changes are made.

Contact Information:

Public Utilities
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St.,
Room 115
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
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Phone: (804)646-4646

DPU can automatically deduct the amount of your monthly bill from your checking or savings account on the date the bill is due. Call (804) 646-4646 to request an application, then return the completed application with a voided check. DPU will set up the service with your bank at no charge to you. The form may also be downloaded online - Automatic Utility Payment Plan Agreement Authorization for Direct Deposits/Payments (ACH Debits/Credits)

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