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Akron, Ohio

City of Akron Releases Records Showing Limited Number of Lead Pipes Serve Akron Water Customers

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City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt, Press Secretary
Published: 01-23-2017

Akron, Ohio, January 23, 2017 – Today, Mayor Dan Horrigan released public records and an interactive map that demonstrate the City’s proactive efforts to replace lead piping for residences and businesses throughout the City and to treat the City’s water with special chemicals that prevent lead from dissolving into the water supply. The information can be found at www.akronohio.gov/water.

“In light of the situations in Flint, Michigan and other communities, I wanted the Akron public to know that regardless of whether or not their property is served by a lead pipe service, regular tests prove that their drinking water is clean and safe, far exceeding all EPA requirements,” Mayor Horrigan said.

The City of Akron stands apart from other cities with respect to its response to the presence of lead piping in its water system. Since the mid-1950’s, the City of Akron has been aggressively and proactively replacing lead pipe services with copper piping throughout the City. A lead service is the pipe from the water main in the street to the shutoff valve, typically at the sidewalk. Today, only 5% of Akron’s water customers are served by a lead pipe service. Based on the City’s best available data, out of the 85,211 active service pipes in the City’s 125+ year-old water system, only 4,341 lead services remain. “Whenever a street or sidewalk is being repaired or other work is being done, we make it a priority to replace any lead pipe services in the area,” John Moore, Director of Public Service said. “On average, we replace 3-5 lead services every week.”

Importantly, having a lead pipe service does not indicate that water will have unhealthy levels of lead. The City’s comprehensive corrosion control program prevents dangerous levels of lead from entering the water supply. Unlike other cities, for the last three decades, Akron has continuously added a special corrosion inhibitor called “zinc orthophosphate” to its water which acts as a barrier between the metallic pipes and the water. This barrier chemically coats the pipes and helps prevent lead from dissolving into the drinking water.

The City regularly tests homeowners’ tap water for lead and results show that the corrosion control program is working and that the City exceeds all United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.

“Due to the hard work and progressive decision-making of our Water Department staff over the past several decades, we have a good story to tell in Akron,” Mayor Horrigan said. “I am proud to say that only a small percentage of lead services remain in our City, and those that do are fully and carefully treated to prevent any dangerous contamination. We work every day to protect the health and safety of our residents and their families, and we are pleased to continue our long history of providing safe, reliable drinking water to our customers.”

The City released, and published on its website at www.akronohio.gov/water, a color-coded, searchable map showing the locations of each of the active lead pipe services and non-lead pipe services throughout the City, for the convenience of customers and residents. The City also released a copy of the letter and frequently asked questions document that was mailed to every property owner with an active lead service in March 2016, and a list of frequently asked questions about lead and water.

Residents with questions are encouraged to read the City’s letter and frequently asked questions posted on the City’s website or contact the Mayor’s Action Center at (330) 375-2311 or 3-1-1, with any specific questions.

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For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary / Assistant Director of Law
166 South High Street, Suite 200
Akron, Ohio 44308
Phone: (330) 375-2325
E-mail: [email protected]ov

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