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Lead and Drinking Water

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Newport Water Division

Lead and Drinking Water

March, 2016

The Newport Water Division (NWD) wants all users of Newport’s drinking water to know that we are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure that we are delivering the best quality drinking water to you each and every day. Our water meets or exceeds all Federal and State Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. Drinking water leaving treatment plants does not contain lead. However, under certain circumstances, water can cause lead to leach from service lines, lead-based solder on copper pipes (used until 1986), and older brass faucets/fittings that contain lead. There are three approaches for a Water Supplier to reduce lead exposure:

  • Remove all lead from the system. As a practical matter, this is improbable, especially in the short term.
  • Flush mains and service lines in the distribution system and ask residents to flush cold-water taps before use.
  • Treat the water with various chemicals to reduce the corrosive effect on lead.

The NWD is actively working to reduce lead in drinking water:

  • We are continuing our aggressive water main rehabilitation program of the oldest pipes in the system by replacing water mains.
  • We are administering an extensive “unidirectional flushing” program to reduce accumulated sediment in the distribution system.
  • We routinely collect samples across our entire distribution area to monitor and assess the effectiveness of our corrosion control treatment. NWD treats the water to a pH of 8.5 to maintain an effective corrosion control.

Actions our customers can take to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water include:

  • Whenever your water has been unused for several hours,“flush”your cold water pipesby running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get. This could take as little as 5 to 30 seconds if there has been recent heavy water use such as showering or toilet flushing. Otherwise, it could take 2 minutes or longer.
  • Always use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead.
  • Have your water tested for lead at a certified laboratory. If you do have lead in the first draw, flushing has been shown to significantly reduce lead levels. If you are still concerned, you can purchase a water filter that is certified to remove lead. Just be sure to change the filter element as recommended by the manufacturer.

 Additional information

A list of certified laboratories is available from the Rhode Island Department of Health :

www.health.ri.gov/find/labs/analytical

The following are additional resources for information on lead in drinking water:

 www.drinktap.org/water-info/whats-in-my-water/lead-in-water.aspx

www.epa.gov/your-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water

If you have further questions in regards to lead in your drinking water read NWD’s annual consumer confidence report (CCR) www.cityofnewport.com/departments/utilities/water/consumer-confidence-report  to find out how we are working to reduce levels of lead in drinking water and other information about your drinking water. You can also call the NWD at (401) 845-5600 if you have questions.