Lead in Water
National Focus on Reducing Lead in Drinking Water
- Because twenty percent of the average American's exposure to lead is through drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated the Lead and Copper in Drinking Water Rule.
- To meet this federal requirement, Aspen began monitoring lead and copper levels at a number of residences beginning in 1992.
- Aspen's Monitoring Program
- Water Quality Resources
- Aspen's Monitoring Results
- Reducing Lead in Aspen
- Metals such as lead and copper are introduced into drinking water mainly from home plumbing where copper pipes and lead solder are commonly found.
- Aspen's corrosion control at its water treatment plants reduces the tendency for lead and copper to dissolve out of home plumbing and also helps reduce the incidence of "rusty water" due to corrosion of iron pipes.
- Aspen's most recent Water Consumer Confidence Report (PDF) provides required monitoring and consumer confidence information.
- Aspen's water comes from mountain streams originating in designated wilderness areas of the White River National Forest and water processed by Aspen's two water treatment plants is virtually free of lead and copper. However, metals such as lead and copper are introduced into drinking water mainly from copper pipes and lead solder in home plumbing.
- In 1986 the EPA banned lead solder in all new home plumbing. Since it has been determined that most lead is leached from solder within five years, the systems identified by EPA to be at risk are those built between 1982 and 1987. Therefore, only the Aspen sites built or having plumbing changes within this time span are chosen for the monitoring program.
- For lead and copper testing, the city samples 20 homes every three years. Samples are collected at the tap, after water has been in contact with the in-house plumbing overnight. The "first flush" sample is intended to capture worst-case metal levels.
- Lead and copper levels from the city's testing have been below the regulatory action level. The regulatory lead and copper action levels are 0.015 and 1.3 parts per million (ppm), respectively.
- Because Aspen's water comes primarily from snow melt which is naturally low in minerals and because water with low mineral content is corrosive to pipes, Aspen has implemented a Corrosion Control Program to change the water chemistry and make it less corrosive.