Lead in Drinking Water:

What You Need to Know

Do You Have a Lead Service Line?

Service Line Responsibility

If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. SUEZ is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components.

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Lead does not come from treatment plants and water mains; it comes from lead service lines running between the water main in the street and the home, and from plumbing inside the home.

A service line is the pipe that connects from our network to your property. The portion of the service line that runs from our water mains to your property is owned by the utility, while the remaining portion that extends from your property line into your home, business, or government building belongs to the property owner. Other indoor plumbing pipes and fixtures may contain lead that could enter your drinking water, including lead solder that connects pipes in your home, brass faucets or iron pipes.

Homes or buildings built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. Lead service lines are typically only present in older homes, but older brass faucets with lead content can be found in newer homes.

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Before using any tap water for drinking or cooking, flush your water system by running the kitchen tap (or any other tap you take drinking or cooking water from) on COLD for 1–2 minutes. Never use hot water from the faucet for drinking or cooking, especially when making baby formula or food for infants.

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Corrosion is a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. A number of factors are involved in the extent to which lead enters the water including the chemistry of the water (acidity and alkalinity), the amount of lead it comes into contact with, how long the water stays in the plumbing materials, and the presence of protective scales or coatings inside the plumbing materials.

To address corrosion of lead and copper into drinking water, EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The LCR requires corrosion control treatment to prevent lead and copper from contaminating drinking water. Corrosion control treatment means systems must make drinking water less corrosive to the materials it comes into contact with on its way to customers’ faucets.

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SUEZ has and continues to monitor for lead per the Lead and Copper Rule and also monitors for potential changes in water quality standards. In anticipation of more stringent regulations regarding lead, the company is upgrading systems to further reduce the possibility of corrosion of lead in the drinking water network.

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Our first priority is ensuring water quality that meets or exceeds all government standards. Where required, SUEZ completes water quality parameter sampling to demonstrate that our water has adequate corrosion control. Lead and copper are monitored throughout the distribution systems on an annual or tri-annual basis, depending on system requirements. Lead and copper analysis results for your specific system can be found in your Consumer Confidence Report. Click here to access your local report.

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The service line, as illustrated in the diagram above, is the responsibility of the homeowner. To determine if your home’s service line is made of lead you (or your plumber) need to inspect the line. Lead service lines are generally a dull gray color and are very soft. You can identify them easily by carefully scratching with a key. If the pipe is made of lead, the area you’ve scratched will turn a bright silver color. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument and take care not to puncture a hole in the pipe.  A qualified plumber can also determine if your home contains lead-based plumbing fixtures.

If you determine that your service line is made of lead and plan to replace it, please click on the “Do You Have a Lead Service Line?” survey at the top of this page.

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It is recommended that customers who have lead service lines hire a licensed and qualified contractor to replace the line. If you have determined that you have a lead service line or plan to replace your portion of the line, please enter your contact information here.

If replacing pipes and household plumbing is not an option, many water filters are effective in removing lead. Be sure to check the label or contact the manufacturer to confirm the filter is certified for lead removal.

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Customers and schools requesting lead testing can take advantage of a special agreement that SUEZ has with ALS Environmental Laboratories by dialing 717-319-8571.

There are a number of other laboratories that are certified, including but not limited to the list below:

  • Eurofins QC Laboratory, NJ Tel: 215-355-3900
  • Aqua Pro-Tech Laboratories, NJ Tel: 973-227-0422
  • Eurofins Monrovia Laboratory, CA Tel: 626-386-1100

For additional labs in your area, contact your local Health Department.

Please note that due to an increase of lead testing at many labs, turnaround times may be delayed

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Yes. Per the Center for Disease Control, bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children, even if the water contains lead over EPA’s action level. Human skin does not absorb lead in water.

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