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 brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Lead is found in some toys, some playground equipment, and some children’s metal jewelry.
Lead is not present in the water supplied to you. When water has been in contact, for several hours or more, with household plumbing or service lines that contains lead,
the lead may dissolve into the drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning, or later in the afternoon after returning from work or school, can contain fairly high levels of lead. Homes built before 1988 are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. New homes may also have lead; even “lead-free” plumbing may contain some lead. Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water.
The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act of 2011, which went into effect on January 4, 2014, changed the definition of “lead-free” from not more than 8%, to a weighted average of not more than 0.25% lead when used with respect to wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures. Visit the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) website
at www.nsf.org to learn more about lead containing plumbing fixtures.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (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 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.
What happened? What is being done?
Tap water monitoring results from our most recent monitoring study, which took place during June 2015, revealed elevated
lead levels in some homes/buildings The Action level for lead is 0.015mg/l.
We are continuing our efforts to correct the problem such as:
- Replacing lead service lines
- Continuing our corrosion control program to reduce the potential of lead dissolving into the water.
- Corrosion control treatment was installed at the Alexander Good Water Filtration Plant and at Well #2 to treat our water
- Testing the system on a weekly and monthly basis for parameters that indicate how the corrosion control treatment
systems are working.
- We are also continuing our lead public awareness campaign to keep you, our customers, informed.
- Lead information as well as progress updates on the installation of corrosion control treatment is provided to our customers each year within our annual water quality report. This report can be found on our website.
Streets that may have lead joints or service connections
- Burke Ave from Summer Street to bend.
- Main Street from Ipswich Line to Railroad Avenue. Installed 1948
- Central Street. Installed 1948
- Warehouse Lane 1940s (except corner of Ocean Ave to the end)
- Pleasant Street 1940s
- Hammond Street 1980s
- School Street 1940s
- Jellison Road 1940s
- Railroad Avenue 1940s
- Prospect Street from Corner at 1A to first Hydrant 1940s
- Wethersfield from Central Street to Saunders Lane 1950s
- Independent Street from Summer to Highway Garage 1940s
The Rowley water Department has made the water less corrosive by reducing the leaching of lead into the town’s drinking water. Sodium hydroxide is added to adjust the water’s pH and buffering
capacity. This change has made the water less likely to leach lead from the pipes. A service line is the pipe that connect your house to the water main in the street. Some service lines may contain lead. Over time many of these older lines have been replaced, but your home could still have one.
Lead service lines are generally a dull gray color and are soft. You can identify them by scratching carefully with a key. If the pipe is made of lead, the area you’ve scratched will turn a silver color.
Do not use a sharp object and do not puncture a hole in the pipe. The Water Department is in the process of identifying the old lead joints in the system. Lead is what was used to connect water main as it was inexpensive and abundant. These lead joints will need to be replaced as part of our Capital Improvement program over the next several years