Passaic Valley Water Commission found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger. Please read the following notice closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water and to learn what Passaic Valley Water Commission is doing to address this problem.
For more information, call us at 973-340-4300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This notice is brought to you by
Passaic Valley Water Commission
Public Water System ID No. NJ1605002
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 is a common metal found in the environment. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure. The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Other sources include exposure in the work place and exposure from certain hobbies (lead can be carried on clothing or shoes). Lead is found in some toys, some playground equipment, and some children’s metal jewelry.
Lead is not present in the water supplied to you. When water has been in contact, for several hours or more, with premise plumbing or service lines that contains lead, the lead may dissolve into the drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning, or later in the afternoon after returning from work or school, can contain fairly high levels of lead. Homes built before 1988 are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. New homes may also have lead; even “lead-free” plumbing may contain some lead.
Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act of 2011, which went into effect on January 4, 2014, changed the definition of “lead-free” from not more than 8%, to a weighted average of not more than 0.25% lead when used with respect to wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures. Visit the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) website at www.nsf.org to learn more about lead containing plumbing fixtures.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Don’t forget about other sources of lead such as lead paint, lead dust, and lead in soil. Wash your children’s hands and toys often as they can come into contact with dirt and dust containing lead.
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE TO LEAD IN YOUR WATER
- Run your water to flush out lead. Run your cold water for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking, if it hasn’t been used for several hours. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes. Flushing usually uses less than one or two gallons of water and costs less than 30 cents per month.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. If purchasing a water filter, read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead. You can also contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality.
- Test your water for lead. Call PVWC at 973-340-4300 to find out how to get your water tested for lead or for a list of local laboratories that have been certified for testing lead.
- Get your child’s blood tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure.
- Identify and replace plumbing fixtures contain lead. A licensed plumber can check to see if your home’s plumbing contains lead solder, lead pipes, or pipe fittings that contain lead. Your local building/code department can provide you with information about building permit records that should contain the names of plumbing contractors who plumbed your home.
- Find out whether your service line is made of lead. PVWC maintains records of the materials, such as the water mains, located in the distribution system. Contact our Customer Service Department at 973-340-4300 for service line materials records.
You should also determine whether or not the service line that connects your home or apartment to the water main is made of lead. The best way to determine if your service line is made of lead is by either hiring a licensed plumber to inspect the line or by contacting the plumbing contractor who installed the line. You can identify the plumbing contractor by checking the city’s record of building permits which should be maintained in the files at your local building department.
WHAT HAPPENED? WHAT IS BEING DONE?
Tap water monitoring results from our most recent monitoring study, which took place during June through September of 2015, revealed elevated lead levels in some homes/buildings in Paterson, Clifton, and Passaic.
We are continuing our efforts to correct the problem such as:
- Monitoring the system twice per year through voluntary public involvement in accordance with EPA/New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) requirements.
- Replacing lead service lines.
- Continuing our corrosion control program to reduce the potential of lead dissolving into the water. Corrosion control treatment was installed at three locations in our system since December 2013 to treat parts of our water system. Additional corrosion control systems will be phased in as a part of the reservoir improvement project, where each phase will provide treatment to specific areas of the distribution system. Once this project is completed and use of the third and final uncovered drinking water reservoir is eliminated, the entire service area will receive corrosion control treatment.
- Testing the system on a weekly and monthly basis for parameters that indicate how the corrosion control treatment systems are working.
We are also continuing our lead public awareness campaign to keep you, our customers, informed. Lead information as well as progress updates on the installation of corrosion control treatment is provided to our customers each year within our annual water quality report. This report can be found on our PVWC website at www.pvwc.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information, call us at 973-340-4300, email us at email@example.com or visit our website at www.pvwc.com. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/lead or contact your health care provider.
For additional EPA resources on lead in drinking water contact:
EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 800-426-4791
National Lead Information Center: 800-424-LEAD (5323)
EPA Websites: www.epa/gov/lead http://water.epa.gov/drink/info/lead
Your family doctor or pediatrician can perform a blood test for lead and provide you with information about the health effects of lead.
Your local building/code department can provide you with information about building permit records that should contain the names of plumbing contractors that plumbed your home.
Please call the following numbers:
Residents of Clifton: Residents of Passaic: Residents of Paterson & Prospect Park:
Clifton Building Department Passaic Code Enforcement Paterson Building Department
973-470-5809 973-365-5549 973-321-1232
For additional copies of this notice please call PVWC’s Customer Service department at 973-340- 4300 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.