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Lead Info

Lead is a common, naturally occurring metal found throughout the environment.

It rarely occurs naturally in source water supplies like rivers and lakes, and is rarely present in water coming from a treatment plant.

Lead enters drinking water usually as a result of corrosion or wearing away of materials in the water distribution system and household plumbing that contain lead.

The City's water distribution system

The City of Sacramento takes steps to control water chemistry at our water treatment plants to prevent lead from entering drinking water.

Staff test for levels of lead in the City’s water distribution system as required by federal and state law. 

The most recent test results can be found in the Consumer Confidence Report, which is released every year.

There are currently no lead issues in the City's water distribution system. 

Lead in private plumbing

City staff encourage people who may have private lead service lines or lead in their home plumbing to take several precautions to assure they are not exposed to lead:

  • Hire a certified plumber to determine if they have potential lead exposure from sources in their home plumbing system
  • Have your water tested by a certified laboratory. For a list of certified laboratories call the State Water Resources Control Board at 510-620-3475 or email
  • Flush out the lines after a period of stagnation to get fresh water. Consider using the water to flush toilets or water plants to minimize waste.
  • Purchase a point-of-use treatment device certified to remove lead and make sure the device is properly maintained.
  • Where lead could be present, avoid consuming water from the hot water tap.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What should I 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.

The City of Sacramento Department of Utilities is responsible for providing high quality drinking water. However, the City cannot control the variety of materials used in private home plumbing. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested.

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.

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 I be worried about lead poisoning?

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

How can I reduce lead in my drinking water?

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.

Lead testing in schools

Recent events in the United States have shown that lead in drinking water remains an on-going public health concern, particularly for children.

The City in 2017 responded proactively to a requirement from the California State Water Resources Control Board that public water systems provide assistance with testing water for lead for any local school that requests it.

Through outreach efforts and coordinating with local school districts, more than 530 samples from 112 schools were tested by the end of the year.

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 3-1-1 or 808-5011.