How does lead get into drinking water?
Lead can enter water from the corrosion of lead pipes and plumbing materials that contain lead. Sources of lead in drinking water include lead water service lines, lead solder, brass faucets/fittings and galvanized steel pipes.
If my lead water service line is replaced will all of the lead in my drinking water be removed?
Replacing a lead water service line will lower your risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. There are potentially additional sources of lead in internal plumbing, which include lead pipes, lead solder on plumbing and older faucets/fixtures.
Do I still need a water filter if I do not have a lead water service line?
If your home contains lead solder on plumbing and older brass faucets/fittings, it is recommended to use a certified water filter. To determine the amount of lead in your drinking water use a lead sampling kit.
How do I know if my home is at risk?
Homes built after 1986 are less likely to have lead water service lines. Additional sources of lead can include lead solder, brass faucets/fittings and Galvanized steel pipes previously downsteam of lead pipes. The most effective way to check for lead is by getting your water tested for lead through the purchase of a lead test kit.
What about the faucets and plumbing inside my home?
Faucets and plumbing manufactured before 2014 can contain up to 8% lead even if considered “lead-free.” To avoid potential exposure to lead from your faucets and plumbing, replace older faucets and plumbing with those made in 2014 or later.
My water smells unusual or is discolored. Does this mean I have lead in my water?
These qualities are not indicative of lead in your drinking water. Lead is odorless, tasteless and cannot be seen when dissolved in water.
What is Charlotte's current water quality?
Charlotte Water releases a yearly water quality report. Water quality reports from the past 6 years can be found at this link: https://www.charlottenc.gov/water/Water-Quality
Can I get my water tested for lead?
Charlotte Water Laboratory Services can test water from your home upon request. You can call 311 to request a sample kit and receive further instructions
If I have a lead water service line how can I reduce my exposure to lead?
To minimize your lead exposure, use a pitcher filter certified to remove lead before drinking or cooking with tap water, and use cold tap water whenever possible for cooking and drinking.
What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
Signs of repeated lead exposure may include abdominal pain or cramps, aggressive behavior, constipation, sleep problems, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, numbness or tingling in the extremities, memory loss, anemia and kidney dysfunction.
What are the health effects of lead exposure?
Young children and infants are particularly vulnerable because the ill effects of lead exposure are triggered at lower levels compared to adults. In children under the age of 7, lead exposure has been linked to behavior and learning issues, slowed growth and hearing problems. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from cardiovascular effects, decreased kidney function and reproductive problems.
How can I get tested for exposure to lead?
Contact your doctor or local health care provider about a blood test for lead exposure or contact the health department in your municipality.
Can I shower in lead-contaminated water?
Yes. Bathing, showering and washing clothes are safe to do with lead-exposed water. Lead cannot be absorbed through human skin.
How can I be exposed to lead?
The most common cause of lead exposure from drinking water is corrosion of lead water service lines and home plumbing devices.
Should I be concerned about lead in my water at home?
Lead pipes are more common in older cities. Charlotte is a young city, when compared to some other cities across the nation. Much of its development has occurred in the past three decades – well after the original ban on lead plumbing legislation was passed in 1986 – so Charlotte’s infrastructure is newer and includes more current water service line materials after lead has been banned. Exposure to lead can also occur in older brass faucets/fixtures, lead solder/connectors or galvanized steel pipes.
What level of lead is safe to consume?
No level of lead is considered safe to consume.
What should I do If my water tests positive for high lead levels?
Immediately stop using the water for drinking and cooking. Notify Charlotte Water via 311 (or a local plumber) and they can help identify potential sources of lead, including the presence of a lead water service line, old plumbing fixtures, faucets, etc.
What sources of lead exist in the environment?
Lead can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, soil, water and even inside our homes. Exposure to lead can come from paint, dust, gasoline, batteries, plumbing and even food.
Do I need to give my permission to Charlotte Water to be on my property?
Charlotte Water will provide all selected homeowners with a right of entry form prior to the work being scheduled. This form grants Charlotte Water the right to enter the property for the purpose of assessing the owner’s water service line material and accurately reporting said material in the City’s Water Service Line Inventory. To access a copy of the right of entry form, click here.
Who will be coming to my property to conduct the field investigation?
Charlotte Water and its contractors will be conducting the field investigation on your property.
What will happen during the field investigation?
Crews will use vacuum excavation methods to expose the water service line on both sides of the water meter. They will test the material of the water service line and record the results. Restoration will occur as needed.
What is a vacuum excavation?
Vacuum Excavation uses high pressure air to create a small hole in the earth and then suctions all dirt and debris using a vacuum
Will my water be turned off?
No. Your water will remain on while the field investigation is taking place.
How long will this take?
Investigation activities will take no more than one day once contractors have initiated the water service line investigation. You will be notified of the results at the end of the investigation by Charlotte Water field staff or contractors.
Will Charlotte Water need access to my home?
Charlotte Water will not need to enter your home. All field activities will occur outside the home, typically in the yard or street.
Will my plumbing or home be damaged in the process?
No. Charlotte Water will not be conducting any work that has potential to damage your home.
What happens if the field staff causes a leak in my pipe?
If the field staff causes a leak to your water service line, then Charlotte Water will replace the water service line. If a leak occurs after the field staff has left the property, please contact 311. If field staff identifies a preexisting leak in your water service line, the line will not be replaced.
Will my yard, driveway, and/or street be restored?
Yes. Any damage toyour property will be restored as close as possible to its original condition.
Can I decline this service?
Yes. If selected for field investigation, Charlotte Water will contact you with pertinent information and the opportunity to accept or decline access to your property for this activity.
Does this mean Charlotte Water thinks I have lead pipes?
No. Charlotte Water has strategically selected your home for investigation. Knowledge of your water service line material will improve predictions of your neighbor’s water service line materials.
If lead is found, will the pipes be replaced?
If lead is found in the portion of the water service line owned by Charlotte Water, that portion will be replaced.
Can you check if my internal plumbing has lead while you are checking my water service line?
No. This investigation is limited to the water service line and associated connections.
When will my water be safe to drink?
If your water service line is identified as a non-lead material, your water is safe to drink. If your water service line is found to be lead or galvanized pipe requiring replacement, a pitcher filter will be provided to you by Charlotte Water. The pitcher will remove any traces of lead that may be in the water.
Who is most at risk in my household if Charlotte Water identifies a lead water service line?
Children and pregnant people are most at risk from exposure to lead. Children can experience developmental issues and learning disorders from lead exposure. Pregnant people can suffer from miscarriages and premature births.
How will I be notified of the results of the investigation?
Charlotte Water will contact you directly with the results.
Will the results of the excavation be made publicly available?
Yes. After all surveys have been completed within Charlotte Water’s service area, the results will be made publicly available.
If I have a lead water service line, how can I minimize my exposure to lead?
To minimize your lead exposure, use the pitcher filter provided by Charlotte Water. It is also recommended to use cold tap water whenever possible for cooking and drinking.