City Utilities continues to meet the high standards for the water delivered daily to our homes and businesses. Water produced and distributed from our Three Rivers Water Filtration Plant always meets or is better than state and federal requirements. But, as we’ve reported before, lead service lines, lead solder and lead plumbing fixtures that are inside some homes can cause lead levels to increase above recommended standards.
Part of our effort to serve the community includes collecting water samples from homes and businesses and testing them for lead levels. In a recent sampling of 70 properties, eight homes were found to have a level higher than the requirements from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The isolated cases of the eight homes are structures built before 1986. The significance of 1986 is that Congress changed laws that year to ban the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2 percent lead and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes, and other plumbing materials inside homes to 8.0 percent. Six of the homes were built before 1937 and are likely to have lead service lines.
The owners of the homes with elevated lead results have already received notification, but additional educational material from City Utilities and the Allen County Department of Health has been mailed to all Fort Wayne water utility customers about lead paint inside and outside homes, lead-contaminated soil and dust, and lead in drinking water. We also notified the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) and EPA about the tests results.
Again, the isolated incidents are not related to the water produced or distributed from the Three Rivers Filtration Plant. To help water utility customers who may want to have their water tested; City Utilities has secured a reduced charge for lead tests from our testing partner, Element Materials Technology. The regular cost for lead analysis is $25, and the company has agreed to charge individuals the same fee City Utilities pays, which is $16 per sample.
In addition to the discounted service from Element, there are other commercial labs around the state that are certified to perform tests for lead in water. The State of Indiana has a list of laboratories that residents may want to use. The list is available at www.in.gov/isdh/22452.htm