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Lead Info

1. The City of Sacramento cares about the health of the families in our community and wants to help limit exposure to lead in drinking water.

  • We take steps to control water chemistry at our water treatment plants to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water.

  • We test for levels of lead and copper in the City’s water distribution system as required by federal and state law. The most recent test results are shown below.

 Constituent
Unit
 
 Year
Sampled
State or Federal
Goal
PHG 
Action 
Level 
# of 
Samples 
Collected 
90th 
Percentile
Level 
# of Sites
Exceeding AL 
 Lead
 ppb 2014  0.2  15  53  ND 
 90th Percentile The value for which 90 percent of samples had a lower result. 
 AL Action Level: The concentration of a contaminant 
 ND Not Detected 

2. There are no lead issues in our water distribution system at this time. 

  • Customers can hire a certified plumber to determine if they have potential lead exposure from other sources in their home plumbing system. 
3. We encourage families with lead service lines or lead in their home plumbing to take precautions to assure they are not exposed to lead at the tap. 

  • If a family believes it is at risk of lead exposure from tap water, we encourage the family to have their water tested by a certified laboratory. For a list of certified laboratories contact the State Water Resources Control Board at (510) 620-3475 or by email at elapca@waterboards.ca.gov.
  • Families can take steps to reduce their risk by:

                        

-Flushing out the lines after a period of stagnation in order to get fresh water that is coming from the main. (Consider using the water to flush toilets or water plants in order to minimize waste.)

 

-Purchasing a point-of-use treatment device certified to remove lead, and making sure the device is properly maintained.

      

-Avoiding consuming water from the hot water tap, where lead, if present, is more likely.


FAQ

What is lead and how are we exposed to it?

Lead is a common, naturally occurring metal found throughout the environment. Lead seldom occurs naturally in water supplies like rivers and lakes, and lead is rarely present in water coming from a treatment plant. 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.”

What you should know about Lead

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. City of Sacramento Department of Utilities is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in home plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure from your home plumbing by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for cooking or drinking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or at at EPA.

Should customers be worried about lead poisoning?

Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials associated with lead in water distribution pipes and home plumbing. There are no issues in the City’s distribution system at this time as indicated by test results. Additionally, the City maintains a corrosion control program to reduce lead leaching. Lead should not be a concern in homes and buildings that do not have lead in their plumbing system, or where lead components have been replaced. Still, some homes and buildings in our service area may have lead pipes, soldered joints, or fixtures containing lead. It is possible that lead levels at your home may be higher than at other homes in the community as a result of materials used in your home’s plumbing. We recommend that customers with concerns have their water tested at a certified lab.

How does the City test for lead?

The City collects water samples from homeowners’ taps every three years as required by federal and state law. Participants are chosen based on their homes’ year of construction, taking into consideration the possibility of lead within the structures’ pipelines. Those test results have always shown the City to be in compliance with federal and state laws. The City does not offer testing services for lead unless a customer is part of the water quality testing program required by state and federal law.

What can I do to test my home for lead?

If you are concerned about elevated lead levels in your home’s water, you may wish to have your water tested. We recommend using a lab certified by the state Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). For more information, contact the State Water Resources Control Board at (510) 620-3475 or by email at elapca@waterboards.ca.gov.

How can I reduce lead in my drinking water?

There are other steps you can take. If your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing out the lines by running your faucet for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking (capture and reuse this water for other uses such as watering ornamental plants), and avoiding consuming water from the hot water tap, where lead, if present, is more likely. You can find more guidance at DrinkTap.

What should I do to report a water quality issue?

For more information about water quality or to report a water quality concern, please call us at 311 or 808-5011.