MONTGOMERY – The East Lauderdale County Water Authority (ELCWA) has been required to issue a drinking water notice to its customers after testing showed elevated levels of lead in drinking water at three homes.
At this time, there is no evidence of lead in the water sources used by ELCWA, nor are there any known lead service lines in the system.
Laboratory analysis for the monitoring period ending June 30, 2019, found that the three results exceeded the EPA Action Level of 15 ug/L. Sampling consisted of 20 samples collected in different parts of the ELCWA service area with results ranging from non-detect to 120 ug/L.
On August 23, 2019, ELCWA’s laboratory reported that one of three confirmation samples collected on August 1, 2019, continued to exceed the EPA Action Level for lead. On August 21, 2019, the Alabama Dept. of Environmental Management (ADEM) directed ELCWA to prepare a corrosion control report, conduct water quality parameter and source monitoring, double the number of routine samples from 20 to 40, and provide educational materials to its customers and other consumers.
ADEM will be working closely with ELCWA to return the system to compliance as soon as possible. “Anytime that a lead Action Level is exceeded is a concern, particularly for young children and pregnant women,” said ADEM Director Lance LeFleur. “Until ELCWA is able to demonstrate lead levels that are in compliance with EPA’s Action Level, there are steps residents can take to reduce exposure.”
ADEM advises customers who are concerned they may have lead in their plumbing to take the following steps:
-Run the water for 15-30 seconds to flush lead from plumbing prior to using the water.
-Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Hot water in contact with the pipes can leach more lead, so using cold water can reduce exposures.
-Consider bottled water as an alternative source. Additionally, there are filters available for home use that will remove lead. NSF International maintains a list of filter products certified to remove lead.
– Boiling water does not remove lead.
– Bathing and showering should be safe, even if the water contains lead over EPA’s action level. Human skin does not absorb lead in water.