Protecting your home from lead in your drinking water
Did you know that older homes are more susceptible to lead?
At Fort Collins-Loveland Water District our primary focus is to provide high quality, secure, reliable, and affordable water. As a greater emphasis has been placed on the potential health risks of lead in drinking water, our District has made a concerted effort to ensure we are adhering to the latest requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is important to note that the District’s water is lead-free when it leaves our treatment plants and the material used in our pipes has never contained lead.
While we know that water from the District is lead-free, residential homes have smaller pipes and prior to 1988, lead-based pipes or solder were traditionally used. If present in your home, these pipes are typically found after the meter pit or curb stop but can also be found in older faucets and fixtures. When water passes through these pipes, it is possible for tiny particles of lead to be released into the water when it travels through your home.
Our team has diligently reviewed over 20,000 taps and carefully identified approximately 3,000 addresses in our district for which we need more information regarding pipe material. You may have received, or will soon receive, a letter if we believe there is a high probability of lead or galvanized steel in your pipes or home.
Was your home built before 1988?
If so, we need your help.
We are asking customers for help to identify current water pipe material in homes that were built before 1988 and then complete the Service Line Questionnaire. Completing the questionnaire is voluntary, you will not be fined or penalized for not completing the form. Note: If your home was built after 1988 you do NOT need to fill out the questionnaire.
To understand the potential health implications of lead-based water pipes, please read more from the EPA here.
Please click the online Service Line Questionnaire to determine what information you will need to prepare in advance of an inspection or download this PDF to see the full list of questions. If you need help uploading your photos, please see the instructions PDF for support.
Please contact us if you need assistance at email@example.com or (970) 226-3104 ext 124.
Why should I help?
In some homes built before 1988, lead or galvanized steel pipes (including lead solder) were used to deliver water to or throughout the home. When water passes through these pipes, it is possible for tiny particles of lead to be released into your drinking water when it travels through your home. Extended exposure to lead can lead to health consequences, Therefore, it is vital to identify the potential presence of lead in your home’s pipes and eliminate any sources that may contaminate the water. You can read more about potential health risks here.
What can I expect?
Once you fill out your questionnaire, our customer service team may follow up to inform you of potential next steps. This may occur up to 120 days after the service line information is submitted.
Please note that having a lead or galvanized steel service line does not necessarily mean you have lead in your water.
What if I’m notified that I may have lead?
You will be notified by FCLWD and added to our inspection schedule. At the time of your appointment, we will send out a District employee to complete the inspection at your home. District employees will always drive a District vehicle and have identification. Any contractors working for the District will have a letter authorizing them to complete specific tasks for this project.
In some cases, we may need to dig a few small holes in your yard over the service line, in a procedure called “potholing”, to allow us to visually inspect the pipes.
For homes selected for inspection, we recommend you follow the tips below until we determine if your pipes need to be replaced.
Tips for dealing with potential lead-based pipes
- Use a water filter that is labeled as NSF/ANSI certified. Filter water for drinking, making tea and coffee, cooking food like rice, pasta, beans, and soup, and for baby formula. Follow manufacturer recommendations on filter replacements.
- See EPA information on How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water Systems & Plumbing Products, or consult with a licensed plumber for help.
- Clean out faucet aerators (the small screen added to the end of a faucet) as they may have trapped particles from older service lines. Here’s a video demonstration: https://todayshomeowner.com/video/cleaning-a-faucet-aerator.
- Run your water to flush out lines if they haven’t been used in several hours. Activities such as showering, doing laundry, cleaning, or watering houseplants will help flush lines (while conserving water) before using water for drinking or cooking.
- Always use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula.
Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Never use water from the hot water tap to make formula.
- Additional resources can be found here:
- American Water Works Get the Lead Out Video
- EPA Infographic on Sources of Lead in Drinking Water
- EPA Basic Information about Lead in Drinking Water
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Products
- Consumer Tool for Identifying Point of Use (POU) Drinking Water Filters Certified to Reduce Lead
- Test and Fix Water For Kids – mandatory lead sampling for schools and child care programs (Colorado HB22-1358)