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Lead found in Brownlow District drinking water

Recent drinking water quality monitoring conducted by Brownlow Utility District has found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings in the locations served by Brownlow Utility District. Brownlow Utility District is concerned about the health of our residents because lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger. 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. 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 it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.

Lead and copper analytical results are evaluated against an action level, not a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL). The action level for lead is 0.015 mg/L. The lead action level is exceeded if the concentration of lead in more than 10 percent of tap water samples collected during any monitoring period is greater than 0.015mg/L (i.e., if the 90th percentile lead level is greater than 0.015 mg/L).

If sample results exceed this level, the water system is required to complete additional requirements including public education and outreach. Brownlow Utility personnel are required to notify customers within 72 hours of confirming an exceedance of the 90th percentile.

The primary sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust or soil. Lead is rarely found in source water. If detected, the lead level detected may be due to the corrosion of plumbing materials within your home. These materials may include brass faucets, fittings, valves and lead solder. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to contain these materials. However new homes may also be at risk. Prior to January 4, 2014, plumbing fixtures were allowed to contain up to 8% lead content. Effective January 4, 2014 the amount of lead allowed in plumbing fixtures and pipes has been reduced to 0.25%