Important Info About Lead in Drinking Water

Important Info About Lead in Drinking Water
Posted on 11/15/2021

Fact Sheet

Town of Pulaski 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.


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 it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.


Sources of Lead


Lead is a common metal found in the environment that has been in many consumer products but is now known to be harmful to human health if ingested or inhaled. 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, food, and cosmetics. Other sources include exposure in the work place and exposure from certain hobbies (lead can be carried on clothing or shoes). Wash your children’s hands and toys often as they can come into contact with dirt and dust containing lead. Lead is rarely found in natural sources of water such as rivers, lakes, wells or springs. 


New brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water.  The Safe Drinking Water Act defines “lead free” as no more than 0.2 percent lead when used with respect to solder and flux; and no more than 0.25 percent for pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures based on a weighted average of the wetted surfaces. Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.


The source water from Gatewood Reservoir does not have lead in itWhen water is in contact with pipes [or service lines] or plumbing that contains lead for several hours, the lead may enter drinking water. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. New homes may also have lead; even “lead-free” plumbing may contain some lead. 


EPA estimates that 10 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 can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.



Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Exposure to Lead in Your Water


Lead may work its way into drinking water after the water entered the distribution system and is on its way to consumers taps.  This usually happens through the corrosion of materials containing lead in household plumbing.  These materials include brass faucets, lead solder on copper pipes, lead pipes, or lead service lines connecting the water main to the inside plumbing.  Lead pipes are no longer installed for service lines or in household plumbing and lead solder has been outlawed in Virginia since 1985. If you live in a building in which the inside plumbing contains lead-based materials, there are several steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water. 


1.       Run your water to flush out leadIf water hasn’t been used for several hours, allow the water to run at the tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using it for drinking or cooking.  This action flushes the lead-containing water from the pipes.  The water you run from drinking water taps does not have to be wasted.  You can use this water for cleaning purposes or for watering plants.  You may want to keep a container of drinking water in your refrigerator, so you don’t have to run water every time you need it.


2.       Use water from the cold water tap for cooking and preparing baby formulaDo not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily in hot water. 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 or remove lead.


4.       Consider installing a filter. You may want to consider installing a water filter.  Ensure that the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact the National Sanitation Foundation at 800-NSF-8010 or for information on performance standards for these types of water filters.  If you choose to install a lead removal filter, be sure to maintain and replace the filter in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality.


5.       Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child’s blood tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure.


6.       Identify and replace any plumbing fixtures that contain lead. Brass faucets, fittings, and valves  

manufactured before January 4, 2014, may contribute lead to drinking water, including those advertised as “lead-free.” Under current law, “lead free” means no more than 0.2% lead in solder and flux, and 0.25% lead for pipe, pipe fittings, and components. Visit the National Sanitation Foundation Web site at to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures.


7.       Test your water for lead. Call us at 540-994-8621 to find out how to get your water tested for lead. The Town of Pulaski will be repeating the lead and copper samples starting in 2022.  Blue Ridge Analytical in Wytheville can perform lead testing for any consumer who requests it at the cost of $40.


What Happened? What is Being Done?


During the lead and copper testing completed in September 2021 the Town discovered we had a few exceedances.  The residences impacted are being notified and extra testing will be implemented. Prior testing in 2018 we had 2 exceedances and this time we had an additional exceedance of the lead limit. With the new infrastructure bill being passed, EPA has funds available to localities for lead service line replacement.


For More Information


Call us at 540-994-8621, or visit our website at

  For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead:

  1. Visit EPA’s website at;
  2. Contact your health care provider;
  3. Contact the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD; or
  4. Contact the Local Health Department at 540-440-2188


This notice is brought to you by Town of Pulaski .  State Water System ID#1155635  Date 11-26-2021

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