Tests from some homes in the Little Thompson Water District show elevated levels of lead

Roman lead pipe -- Photo via the Science Museum
Roman lead pipe — Photo via the Science Museum

From The Loveland Reporter-Herald (Pamela Johnson):

“It is still considered safe (to drink), but you want to follow the six steps to reduce exposure,” said Ken Lambrecht, operations manager with the Little Thompson Water District, which has 8,000 taps in its service area.

Water providers are required to sample for lead in drinking water, and the most recent samples taken by the Little Thompson district came back with 11 that exceeded 15 micrograms per liter. When this happens, the water district is required to alert customers of the results and health risks of exposure to lead.

Lead, though common in the environment, can cause health problems, including kidney and brain damage, and children are particularly susceptible to exposure.

There are several sources of exposure, including paints, soil and plumbing. Lead can leach into drinking water through systems with lead pipes or copper pipes that have lead soldering, which are more common in buildings that were constructed in the 1980s.

It was from these high-risk homes, built between 1982 and 1988, that the Little Thompson Water District took samples for its most recent testing. They collected 30 samples, which were sent to a laboratory with 27 additional vials of water that specific customers asked to have tested. Of those 57 total, 11 exceeded the 15 micrograms per liter sample. The overall results ranged from undetectable to the highest reading of 65.8 micrograms per liters, according to the water district.

Only three of the 11 elevated samples, however, were taken after March 31, which is when the Carter Lake Treatment Plant changed some of its chemicals, Lambrecht noted. That, he continued, shows that those treatment changes appear to be working to control lead levels.

The samples all came from single-family homes within the district, which spans from the south side of Loveland to the north edge of Longmont and from Carter Lake east to Evans in Weld County and also includes some customers west of Loveland…

Customers of the Little Thompson Water District are advised to take…precautions, including:

• If you haven’t had the water running for several hours, flush out the system by running cold water until it is noticeably colder. (Save that waster for plants or cleaning.)

• Always use cold water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula. (Note: Boiling water does not reduce lead.)

• Periodically remove and clean the faucet’s strainer and aerator and run water to remove debris.

• Consider installing a water treatment device

• Have a licensed electrician check your home’s wiring because, if grounding wires are attached to pipes, the risk of corrosion may increase.

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