Lead Awareness

Lead exposure can cause serious health problems. Exposures to lead can come from various sources such as contaminated soil, lead paints, and lead plumbing materials. The following information is provided to Lincoln water consumers to provide better awareness of how lead exposure can occur from lead containing plumbing materials.

Understanding Lead in Water

Key points about lead in water

The water traveling through the city’s water mains does not contain a detectable amount of lead.

Lead can get into drinking water if it flows through building or household plumbing that contains lead. So, if you have lead in your plumbing, you may have lead in your water.

Lead can be harmful even at very low levels, especially to young children. Follow the steps below to help protect yourself and your family from possible lead exposure.

What you can do:

1 Find and remove plumbing that has lead if possible.

2 Drink and cook with water using the cold-side of the faucet.

3 Do not drink or cook with water that has been sitting in your pipes for a few hours or more. Run the cold water to bring in fresh water.

4 Clean your faucet aerators (screens) routinely

5 Consider filtering your water, especially if you have lead or galvanized pipes

Why is lead in water a concern?

Although lead is a common metal that has been used for thousands of years, it has been linked to many serious health effects. Infants, children, and developing fetuses are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure. Laws and regulations banning major sources of lead (leaded gasoline, lead paint, lead plumbing materials) have significantly reduced the average blood-lead levels in children since the 1970s. However, exposure to lead can still occur especially in older homes that still contain lead paint or lead plumbing materials.

Health Effects of Lead

Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure.

How does lead get into the water?

The water flowing through the city’s water mains does not contain a detectable amount of lead. Lead can get into drinking water if it moves through building or household plumbing that has lead. Lead can come from older privately‐owned pipes and service lines, and brass faucets, fittings, fixtures.

Lincoln’s water chemistry minimizes the corrosion of lead from plumbing systems, but it is possible for lead to get into the water under certain conditions, such as when:

  • water sits in household or building plumbing that contains lead
  • a disturbance causes pipe scale that contains lead to release from building or household galvanized pipes
  • water flows around particles of lead that are trapped in a faucet aerator (screen)
  • hot water is used in building or household plumbing that contains lead

How Lead Gets Into Drinking Water

How Lead Gets Into Drinking Water

Lincoln Water System follows the requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) for protecting the public from lead in water. Lincoln Water System performs lead sampling at household taps every three years as required by the USEPA. These results help Lincoln Water System confirm the water remains optimally treated. These results are not an indicator that every home has safe levels of lead. The most recent results from this sampling can be found in our Annual Water Quality Report. Historical lead results can be found on the Lead Testing Results page.

Individual Results May Vary – That’s where you come in. Lincoln Water System consistently monitors water quality to ensure the water remains non-corrosive which decreases the possibility of lead dissolving into the water. As a result, Lincoln’s water has never exceeded EPA’s lead action level that would trigger additional water treatment requirements. However, the amount of lead in water can vary from home to home because every home’s plumbing and pattern of water use is different. You can take action by finding and removing plumbing that has lead in your home and taking steps to reduce your exposure.