Lead seldom occurs naturally in water supplies like rivers and lakes. Lead enters drinking water primarily as a result of corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in the plumbing. Buildings built prior to 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder. New buildings can also be affected, since even “lead-free” plumbing manufactured before 2014 may contain up to 8 percent lead. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass fixtures which can leach significant amounts of lead into water, especially hot water.
In water systems where lead has been found to be a detectable problem, the lead usually comes from the customers’ houses. In these water systems, lead might corrode from the metals in the pipes and plumbing in the house. Plumbing fixtures which could contain lead include the water service in the street, the houseline owned by the property owner, lead solder in copper pipe joints or even the faucet itself.
Faucet aerators that are not cleaned regularly may also increase lead exposure.
The approximate 1” diameter water service from the water main in the street to your property line has been made of copper since about 1950. Most of the water services constructed prior to 1950 were originally made of lead but were replaced later with copper. Akron still has about 4% of its water services made of lead but Akron is continuing its program of replacing these with copper services until all lead services are eliminated. Even in customers who may still have a lead service, the water has regularly tested below the EPA Action Level for lead.