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Saturday, December 7, 2019

CITY OF PRINCETON: Lead Public Education Program for Municipal Water Systems

Local Government

By Press release submission | Nov 17, 2019


City of Princeton issued the following announcement on Nov. 14.

The Princeton Water Department 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.

The Princeton Water Department is very concerned about lead in your drinking water. Although most homes have very low levels of lead in their drinking water, some homes in the community have lead levels above the EPA “Action Level” of 15 parts per billion (ppb), or 0.015 milligrams of lead per liter of water (mg/L).

Exceeding an “Action Level” (AL)

Every public community water supply (CWS) must collect samples for lead. Samples are collected at locations approved by the Illinois EPA following specific Lead and Copper Rule guidelines. After samples are collected and analyzed, no more than 10% of the samples can exceed 15 parts per billion. If more than 10% of these samples exceed lead concentrations of 15 ppb an “action level” (AL) exceedance is triggered and the CWS must undertake additional actions to control corrosion. Exceeding an AL is not a violation. This brochure explains the simple steps you can take to protect you and your family by reducing your exposure to lead in 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 is a common metal found throughout the environment. It can be found in lead-based paint, air, soil, household dust, and certain types of pottery, porcelain and pewter. The primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil.

Lead in drinking water

When water sits in plumbing systems containing lead for several hours, the lead may dissolve into the drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning, or later in the evening after work, could contain moderate/ high levels of lead.

Lead in drinking water is rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning but does contribute to a person’s total lead exposure.

Lead is unusual among drinking water contaminants in that it seldom occurs naturally in water supplies like ground water, rivers or lakes. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in household plumbing and the water distribution system. These materials include lead−based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome plated brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect your house to the water main (service lines). In 1986, congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2% lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other plumbing materials to 8.0% creating a low lead classification. Lead content was further reduced on January 4, 2014 when plumbing materials had to be certified as “lead-free” to be used (weighted average of wetted surface cannot be more than 0.25% lead).

Steps you can take to reduce exposure to Lead in drinking Water

Despite our best efforts to control water corrosivity, lead levels in some homes or buildings can become elevated. To find out whether you need to take action in your own home, you can have your drinking water tested by a state approved lab to determine if it contains elevated concentrations of lead. Home water test kits have their limitations, and are not as accurate as tests performed in a professional lab. Some state approved local laboratories that can provide this service are listed at the end of this brochure. If the level of lead found in your drinking water is above 15 ppb or you’re concerned about the lead levels at your location, there are several things you can do:

Let the water run from the tap before using it for drinking or cooking. Flushing the tap means running the cold water faucet until the water gets noticeably colder, usually about 1−3 minutes. Although toilet flushing or showering flushes water through a portion of your home’s plumbing system, you still need to flush the water in each faucet before using it for drinking or cooking.

Use cold water for drinking, 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. If you need hot water, draw water from the cold tap and heat it on the stove. Also, note that boiling water does NOT reduce lead levels. Bottled drinking water should be used by pregnant women, breast- feeding women, young children, and formula- fed infants at homes where lead has been detected at levels greater than15 ppb.

Remove loose lead solder and debris from the plumbing, by removing the faucet strainers from all taps and running the water for 3 to 5 minutes. Thereafter, periodically remove the strainers and flush out any debris that has accumulated over time.

Have an electrician check your wiring. If grounding wires from the electrical system are attached to your pipes, corrosion may be greater. Check with a licensed electrician or your local electrical code to determine if your wiring can be grounded elsewhere. DO NOT attempt to change the wiring yourself because improper grounding can cause electrical shock and fire hazards.

Replace fixtures that are known to contribute lead to drinking water with “lead-free” fixtures. Products that meet this new definition will be clearly marked as “lead free”.

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.

For an alternative source of water you can purchase bottled water for drinking and cooking. Also, a home treatment option may be a viable solution. Home treatment devices are limited in that each unit usually treats only the water that flows from the faucet to which it is connected, and all of these devices require periodic maintenance and replacement. Some activated carbon filters may reduce lead levels at the tap, however all lead reduction claims should be investigated. Be sure to check the actual performance of a specific home treatment device before and after installing the unit.

You can rest assured that we are taking a number of steps to help alleviate this issue and will take the appropriate actions. These actions may include the following:

Perform a corrosion control study

Install corrosion control treatment.

Source water monitoring

Collection of Water Quality Samples

Initiating a lead service line replacement program, if needed.

Other actions as deemed appropriate

You can consult a variety of sources for additional information. Your family doctor or pediatrician can perform a blood test for lead and provide you with information about the health effects of lead. Also, the Illinois Dept. of Public Health 217-782-0403 or the Bureau County Public Health Dept. at 815-872-5091 ext 225 can provide you with information about the health effects of lead and how you can have your child’s blood tested.

The following is a list of some state approved laboratories in our area that can test water for lead:

Test Inc.

2323 4th Street

Peru, IL 61354

(815) 224-1650

PDC Laboratories Inc.

2231 W. Altorfer Drive

Peoria, IL 61615

(309) 692-9688

Call us at 815-875-2631 ext. 1701/1301 or visit our web site at https://www.princeton-

For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site at or contact your health care provider.

Original source can be found here.

Source: City of Princeton

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