Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is all around us. It was used for many years in paints, plumbing and other products found in and around homes.
The Environmental Protection Agency has determined that lead can cause health problems if it accumulates in a person's body over time.
While lead in tap water is rarely the single cause of lead poisoning, it can increase a person’s total lead exposure.
High levels of lead in your household drinking water can have significant health impacts, especially for children and pregnant women.
Does Denver Water have lead in its water?
Each year, Denver Water collects more than 35,000 samples and runs more than 68,000 water quality tests. Lead isn’t present in the mountain streams and reservoirs that supply our water, and it isn’t found in water when it leaves our treatment plants or travels through our system’s water mains.
The most common sources of lead in treated drinking water comes after the main, in lead service lines and household plumbing fixtures.
What are the common sources of lead in drinking water?
Lead isn’t present in the water Denver Water sends to your house, but lead can get into water as it moves through lead-containing household plumbing and service lines. Service lines are the pipes that connect a home or building to the water mains, which are the pipes in the street that carry water through the city.
If lead is present in your service line, you have an increased risk of exposure to lead through drinking water. If you want to know what type of service line you have, a licensed plumber can test your line to determine if it is made of lead or another material. Lead service lines should be replaced, if possible.
How do I know if my home is at risk?
Because service lines are initially installed by builders and are owned by customers, Denver Water does not know the specific locations of all of the lead service lines in our service area. Denver Water is recording the locations of lead service lines we encounter during our work.
In Denver Water’s experience, homes and buildings most likely to have lead service lines are those built before or during the mid-1950s. Within Denver Water’s service area, homes built during this date range are more likely to sit within the City and County of Denver rather than within the surrounding suburbs.
The EPA defines higher-risk homes as those with:
- Lead plumbing and/or a lead service line connecting the water main under the street to the home.
- Copper pipes joined with lead solder. Homes built between 1982 and 1988 may have exposed lead solder, which was banned for use on domestic plumbing in 1988.
Homes that do not fall within these two categories are at lower risk for lead contamination in the water.
If you feel your home is at risk and are concerned about lead in your drinking water, you can request a lead test from Denver Water.
How do I get more information about my drinking water?
For a description of Denver Water’s overall quality of water from its raw collection and storage to the treated purity at your tap, read Denver Water’s annual water quality reports. To have a copy mailed to you please call Customer Care at 303-893-2444.