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Sources of Lead in Drinking Water


Denver Water is committed to delivering safe water to our customers. The water that we provide to homes and businesses is lead-free, but lead can get into the water as it moves through lead-containing household fixtures, plumbing and water service lines — the pipe that brings water into the home from the main in the street — that are owned by the customer.

The most common sources of lead in drinking water come from:

  • The primary source of lead in drinking water is water service lines that contain lead. In Denver Water’s experience, homes built before 1951 are more likely to have lead service lines.
  • Copper pipes connected with solder made of lead, which was common before 1987. Solder can be used anywhere in the house, from fixtures to service lines.
  • Brass faucets and faucet parts, such as fittings and valves. Fixtures installed before 2014 are likely to contain some brass, even if they have a chrome finish.

Sources of lead

If you suspect your home has lead in the plumbing, there are a few immediate steps you can take to minimize exposure.

  • Use a filter certified to remove lead to NSF Standard 53 for drinking and cooking. Replace the filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Households included in Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program will receive a water pitcher and filters at no direct charge.
  • Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making infant formula. Boiling the water does not remove lead and hot water often contains higher levels of lead than cold water.
  • If water has not been used in the home for a few hours, such as first thing in the morning or when getting home from work, then run the kitchen or any bathroom faucet for five minutes (remember to capture the water and reuse it). You can also run the dishwasher, take a shower, or do a load of laundry to help flush water in your internal plumbing before drinking or cooking.
  • Regularly clean your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator). View step-by-step instructions.
  • Replace pre-2014 faucets with new “lead-free” options.

If you are looking for all sources of lead exposure in your home, visit the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s website.