Lead is a common, naturally occurring metal found throughout the environment. Lead is not found in Lake Michigan surface water or in our source of supply water treated by Milwaukee Water Works. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of corrosion or wearing away of materials in the water distribution system and household plumbing that contain lead. Despite concerns about drinking water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notes that “the greatest exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips or dust.”
How do I know if my property has a lead water supply line?
If your property was built before 1953, your water service lateral was originally installed using lead piping materials. It is possible that some of the property’s internal plumbing and fixtures also contain lead. Even copper piping may have lead solder joints. You may call the Wauwatosa Water Utility business office at (414) 479-8963 to find out more information about your service line pipe material.
Is exposure to lead a health concern?
Please contact the City of Wauwatosa Health Department Referral Nurse Line at (414) 479-8939.
What is the Wauwatosa Water Utility doing to replace lead services?
As a standard practice with our water main replacement projects the Wauwatosa Water Utility replaces old lead water service laterals with new HDPE plastic materials from the water main to the curb stop.
What can I do to reduce lead in my tap water?
If you’re concerned about lead in your drinking water, you can take several steps to limit possible exposure.
Flush your tap water. Flushing the tap is particularly important when the faucet has been unused for more than a few hours. It takes time for lead to leach into water, so the first water drawn from the tap in the morning or after a long period of non-use may contain higher levels of lead. Flushing clears standing water from your plumbing and home service line to ensure you are getting drinking water from the water main, where lead is rarely present. Let the cold water run from the tap until it is noticeably colder (this may take up to two minutes or more) before using it for cooking or drinking.
Remember, you must flush EACH drinking water faucet after long periods of non-use for this strategy to be effective.
CONSERVATION TIP: Use flushed water for non-potable purposes such as watering plants or washing dishes. You can also store water from a tap that has been flushed in the refrigerator for later use.
Use only cold water for cooking or drinking. Lead leaches more easily into hot water than cold water.
Boiling water DOES NOT remove lead.
Remove faucet strainers and rinse them to remove any debris. This can be done periodically to remove accumulated debris as well.
Are there filters certified to reduce lead?
Water filters used for reducing lead in drinking water must be certified for lead reduction in accordance with NSF/ANSI Standard 53 – Drinking Water Treatment Unit Standard for Health Effects.
Types of water filters.
Pour-through pitcher/carafe: Water drips through a filter into a water pitcher using gravity.
Faucet mount: Mounts on kitchen faucet. Uses diverter to direct water through a filter.
Counter-top connected to sink faucet: Connects to existing sink faucet through a hose/tubing.
Plumbed-in to separate tap or to kitchen sink: Installs under a sink; filtered water is usually dispensed through a separate faucet directly to the kitchen sink.
Refrigerator filter: Installed in your refrigerator and typically dispensed through the refrigerator door.
How can I test for lead in my water?
You can’t see, smell or taste lead in your water. Testing at the tap is the only way to measure the lead levels in your home or workplace. If you choose to have your tap water tested at a cost of around $30, be sure to use a private laboratory properly certified by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
400 Bay View Rd. Suite 1
Mukwonago, WI 53149
Phone: (262) 539-2316
Northern Lakes Services, Inc.
2420 N Grandview Blvd.
Waukesha, WI 53188
Phone: (262) 547-3406
State Lab of Hygiene
2601 Agriculture Drive
Madison, WI 53707
Phone: (800) 442-4618
Where can I get more information about lead and water?
Contact the following resources for more information about lead and water: