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 U. S. 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 16,000 samples and runs more than 66,000 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 source of lead in treated drinking water comes after the main, in customers’ plumbing.
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 Denver Water 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. Galvanized iron, another common material for service lines, can also present water quality concerns at the tap. Both types of lines should be replaced, if possible.
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.
How do I know if my home is at risk?
In Denver Water’s experience, homes and buildings most likely to have lead service lines are those built before or during the mid-1950s.
The EPA defines higher-risk homes as those with:
- A lead service line connecting the water main under the street to the home’s internal plumbing.
- Copper pipe and lead solder. The EPA states that homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder.
Homes that do not fall within these two categories are at lower risk for lead contamination in the water. In 1986, Congress enacted the “lead ban,” which stated that public water systems, along with drinking water plumbing connected to a public system, must use “lead-free materials.” As a result, homes built after the ban took place are less likely to have lead solder.
How do I get more information about my drinking water?
Read Denver Water's annual water quality reports, which describe the overall quality of water from its raw collection and storage to the treated purity at your tap. To obtain a hard copy please call Customer Care at 303-893-2444.