Public Education Notice Regarding Lead And Copper in Drinking Water

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To our community,

A notice was sent out via regular mail today that includes the following information.

Included with this letter is information regarding lead contaminants in drinking water. 

Please be advised, this is for public education and does not serve as a notice specific to your location. 

The Town of Paonia pulls drinking water samples from multiple residential and commercial site locations and lead exceeded permitted levels at some of these specific sites. These site locations have been notified of the results of their samples. 

Please pay special attention to page two (2) of the attached notice, which provides information on what you can do at your location to reduce lead exposure.

Public Water System ID: CO0115601

System Name: Town of Paonia

Our system found elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in some homes/buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Please read this information closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water.

Health Effects of Lead

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.

Sources of Lead

Lead is a common metal found in the environment. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure. The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Other sources include exposure in the workplace and exposure from certain hobbies (lead can be carried on clothing or shoes).

Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free”, may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to eight percent lead to be labeled as “lead free”. However, plumbing fixtures labeled National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified may only have up two percent lead. Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.

When water is in contact with pipes or plumbing that contains lead for several hours, the lead may enter drinking water. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. New homes may also have lead; even “lead-free” plumbing may contain some lead. EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with the lead-containing water can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.

Don’t forget about other sources of lead such as lead paint, lead dust, and lead in soil. Wash your children’s hands and toys often as they can come into contact with dirt and dust containing lead.

Steps You Can take to Reduce Your Exposure to Lead in Your Water

  1. Run your water to flush out lead. If it hasn’t been used for several hours, run the cold water tap until the temperature is noticeably colder. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes. To conserve water, remember to catch the flushed tap water for plants or some other household use (e.g. cleaning).
  2. Always use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Never use water from the hot water tap to make formula.
  3. Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  4. Periodically remove and clean the faucet’s strainer/aerator. While removed, run the water to remove debris.
  5. You may consider investing in a home water treatment device or alternative water source. When purchasing a water treatment device, make sure it is certified under Standard 53 by NSF International to remove lead. Contact NSF at 1-800-NSF-8010 or visit www.nsf.org. You may also visit the Water Quality Association’s website at www.wqa.org.
  6. Test your water for lead. Call us at the number below to find out how to get your water tested for lead. A list of certified laboratories is listed at www.colorado.gov/cdphe/laboratory-certification-program.
  7. Get your child's blood tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure.
  8. Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead. Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead. Brass faucets, fittings and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may leach lead into drinking water. The NSF website at www.nsf.org has more information on lead-containing plumbing fixtures. You should use only lead-certified contractors.
  9. Have a licensed electrician check your wiring. If grounding wires from the electrical system are attached to your pipes, corrosion may be greater. Check with a licensed electrician or your local electric code to determine if your wiring can be grounded elsewhere. DO NOT attempt to change the wiring yourself because improper grounding can cause electrical shock and fire hazards.

What happened & What is being done?

  1. The Town of Paonia is working with a engineering firm that is helping find the source of the lead and will be looking at treatment methods to resolve the problem.
  2. The Town is also testing again in the month of February.
  3. The Samples were taken from sites that had low to no water usage for a long period of time.

For More Information

For more information call us at 970-527-4101 or visit our Web site at www.townofpaonia.colorado.gov                                 For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site at http://www.epa.gov/lead or contact your health care provider.

Notice Provided by: Town of Paonia

Date: 2/10/2021

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