Corrosion Control, Lead & Copper

Corrosion Control – Lead and Copper

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the Lead and Copper Rule requiring water systems to study their water, reduce corrosion of home plumbing and reduce the amount of lead and copper people ingest. Studies reveal that ingesting lead or copper can cause health problems, especially in children. We also know exposure to lead and copper often comes from home plumbing.

To comply with this regulation, and for your protection, we began taking samples and testing water from more than 100 homes in 1992. Test results showed lead and copper levels were near the level at which a water system must take action to reduce corrosion, even though this level might not be high enough to cause harm.

We also conducted a Corrosion Control Optimization Study and found we needed to add a chemical, like sodium hydroxide, which raises the pH of our water from its natural 7.0 to a less corrosive 7.5, to help control lead and copper corrosion. In 1997, we built a corrosion control plant to accomplish this.

Another round of water samples were taken and tested in October 1997. Test results showed we reduced the levels of lead and copper in our water to half of previous levels.

Today, we continue monitoring pH and lead and copper levels to help prevent corrosion.

Learn more about how we prevent lead from getting into drinking water in our Lead FAQ.

How to Eliminate Traces of Lead and Copper in Your Water

If you live in a home with copper or galvanized plumbing and have not used the water from your tap for more than five or six hours, follow the steps below.

To eliminate traces of zinc, rust and lead in your water:

  • Run the tap for 15 to 30 seconds before drawing and using the water.
  • Flush the cold water tap from your kitchen for at least 15 to 30 seconds before drawing water for drinking or cooking.

To reduce stale water tastes and odors:

  • Turn on all unused water taps in your home, one at a time, once a month, and let them run for about 15 seconds.

Since metals such as lead and copper dissolve more readily in hot water, follow these suggestions:

  • Do not use hot tap water for cooking or drinking.
  • If you have an instant hot water machine, let it run for several seconds to clear out standing water.
  • If your refrigerator has an automatic ice maker, empty it regularly and allow it to refill to clear out standing water.