IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER

Feb 13, 2019

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER

SUEZ Water New Jersey Hackensack found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings in Bergen and Hudson counties. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. In accordance with regulatory requirements and guidance, the homes sampled for compliance monitoring primarily were those served by a lead service line (pipes that carry water from the main in the street to individual homes or businesses), as lead service lines are considered a significant, potential source of lead in the drinking water.  However, lead may be found in interior plumbing such as pipes, solder, and faucets.  Please read the following notice closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water and to learn what SUEZ Water New Jersey Hackensack is doing to address this problem.

Call us at 800-422-5987 or visit www.SUEZWQ.com for more information. 

Date Posted: 2/13/2019

Note: The notice does not apply to Franklin Lakes, Allendale or Saddle River. It also does not apply to residents in municipalities that contract with SUEZ to operate their water systems. This includes Jersey City, Bayonne, Hoboken, Rahway, Kearny and Orange.

SUEZ Water New Jersey Hackensack

PWSID# NJ0238001

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER

Introduction

SUEZ found elevated levels of lead in 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.

Specifically, 108 samples were collected at residences served by Suez Hackensack between July 16, 2018 and December 12, 2018, and 15 of the results exceeded the Lead Action Level of 15 ppb.

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 can be released later in life. During pregnancy, a child receives lead from a 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, cosmetics, imported spices and other food. Other sources include exposure in the work place and exposure from certain hobbies like shooting ranges.

Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the water distribution system and household plumbing. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chrome-brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of lead that connect houses and buildings to water mains (service lines). 

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 0.25 percent lead to be labeled as “lead-free”. However, prior to January 4, 2014, “lead-free” allowed up to 8 percent lead content of the wetted surfaces of plumbing products including those labeled National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified. Consumers should be aware of their current fixtures and take appropriate precautions.

The EPA estimates that up 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 may receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water. 

When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing systems containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve into your drinking water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning, or later in the afternoon if the water has not been used all day, may contain elevated levels of lead.

Steps you can take to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water

1.Test your water for lead. Customers can contact an independent laboratory to have their water tested for lead. The NJDEP maintains a list of certified laboratories. To access this list, please visit https://www13.state.nj.us/DataMiner. Once there, click Search by Category then select Certified Laboratories from the Report Category drop down box.  Then click on the Submit button and under Certified Laboratories choose Drinking Water Certified Lead Labs

Run the water and flush out lead. Let the water run from the tap before using it for drinking or cooking any time the water in the faucet has gone unused for more than six 1.hours. The longer the water resides in plumbing the more lead it contains. Flushing the tap means running the cold water faucet for about 15 to 30 seconds. Although toilet flushing or showering flushes water through a portion of the plumbing system, you still need to flush the water in each faucet before using it for drinking or cooking. Flushing tap water is a simple and inexpensive measure you can take to protect your health. It usually uses less than one gallon of water. For those with lead service lines, let the water run from the tap based on the length of the lead service line and the plumbing configuration in your home.

2.Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water. If you need hot water, draw the water from the cold tap and then heat it. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.

3.Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.

4.Remove and clean aerators/screens on plumbing fixtures. Over time, particles and sediment can collect in the aerator screen usually found at the tip of indoor faucets. Regularly remove and clean aerators screens and remove any particles.

5.Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter if there is lead in your home. Be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 1-800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

6.Proper and routine maintenance of water softeners. It is very important that residents manage their water softeners appropriately. Not properly maintaining your water softener could have a negative impact on the corrosivity of the water in your home.

7.Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get tested for lead if you are concerned about lead exposure. Your family doctor or pediatrician can perform a blood test for lead and provide you with information about the health effects of lead.

What is being done?

In order to address potential lead issues, SUEZ enhanced its corrosion control treatment – considered industry best practice – in 2017 to reduce scale and lead and copper deposits. Since that time, the company has carefully monitored the levels of corrosion control and continues to evaluate the treatment and will make adjustments as necessary. SUEZ continues to test homes throughout its system and to further optimize corrosion control within the system.

The primary source of lead in drinking water is from individual service lines (pipes that extend from water mains in the streets to individual residences or businesses) made of lead and from interior plumbing and fixtures that contain lead in homes/buildings. SUEZ has been replacing lead service lines in its service territory for a number of years and now as required under the Lead and Copper Rule will upgrade its program to replace at least 7 percent of all its lead service lines per year including lead goosenecks (pipe connecting the water main to the service line), in accordance with the federal regulations, with the ultimate goal of removing all the utility-owned lead service lines from the system. During lead service line replacement program, we are required to offer to replace the property-owner’s portion of the lead service line; however, we are not responsible for the cost. The portion of the service line from the main in the street to the property line is owned by SUEZ, including the gooseneck, while the pipe from the curb to the home is owned by the property owner. Therefore, property owners are encouraged to check their portion of the lines for lead and we are asking you to notify SUEZ at 800-422-5987 if a lead service line is identified so we can update our records. If a property owner identifies a lead service line, it is strongly recommended that the customer replace the lead service line and to notify SUEZ prior to replacement so SUEZ can also replace the utility owned lead service line, if applicable, at the same time.

SUEZ is taking additional steps. Upon request, we will test the water from an utility owned lead service line or lead gooseneck (flushed samples), based on our records, and we will provide a free water pitcher that filters out lead if that sample exceeds the lead action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). Customers without a utility owned lead service line or lead gooseneck can have their water sampled by a NJ certified laboratory at their own expense.  Our new website, www.SUEZWQ.com, has more information as well as a search tool customers can use to determine if they are served by a utility-owned lead service line. Suez does not have information whether the property owner’s portion is lead.

For more information about this facility’s water supply and what is being done to reduce lead levels, please call us at 1-800-422-5987. Please also call this number to obtain a translated copy of the public education materials or to request assistance in the appropriate language.

Por favor llamar 1-800-422-5987 para obtener una copia traducida de los materiales de educacción pública o para solicitar asistencia en español.

For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD or the Safe Drinking Water Act hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or contact your health care provider.

We know you may have additional questions or concerns about lead in drinking water. Here’s how we can help:

We have established a new water quality website – www.SUEZWQ.com -- that provides further details about lead in the drinking water.

Customers who are/might be served by a utility-owned lead service line or lead gooseneck, based on our records, can request a free test of the water from their lead service line or lead gooseneck (flushed sample) by calling or emailing our customer service center at 800-422-5987 or sueznjcustserv@suez-na.com.

Following this sampling conducted by Suez, if the water result from the utility owned lead service line/lead gooseneck (flushed sample) is above the  lead action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb), a one-time free water pitcher with a WQA certified filter that removes lead will be provided.

Customers who do not have a utility owned lead service line or lead gooseneck, can call our customer service center at 800-422-5987 to retrieve information on how to get their water tested for lead by a NJ certified laboratory at their own expense.

           For more information or to determine if you are served by a utility-owned lead service line:

·         Check your online account for a message from SUEZ

·         Visit www.SUEZWQ.com or www.mysuezwater.com/njwq

·         Email us at sueznjcustserv@suez-na.com

·         Call our customer service center at 800-422-5987

(Note that Suez will not have information on whether the property-owner’s portion is lead and/or whether a utility owned lead gooseneck is present.)

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