Water for D.C. Kids.org

Families seeking healthy water solutions for the children of the District of Columbia:   

Free bottled water, filters for poor women, infants and children; rebates for taxpayers; expedited lead line replacement

full disclosure, mapping of lead affected areas, comprehensive testing of city schools, recreations centers, libraries,

and licensed child care facilities, public outreach and education, particularly among hard-to-reach populations

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(See Where You Can Buy Private Water Testing Kits.)

The need for action is clear: To Urge the Mayor, the D.C. Council, and Congressman Tom Davis to Support These Solutions for Washington's Children!!

The Latest:  July 1   WASA agrees to expedited lead pipe replacement program



1. Overview of Potential Sources of Lead Contamination                                                         2/15 See  D.C. Unclear on Location of Lead Lines; 3/3 See Complications of Replacing Lead Service Lines

2.  Determining If Lead Sources Carry Your Tap Water: (Where is the lead and who is responsible for replacing lead pipes or solders?)

Public Pipes:  Lead Water Mains or Copper Pipes Soldered With Lead

Private Pipes:  Your Property, Your Home, Your Responsibility

3.  Lead Testing Water in Your Home:  How ToThe Process

4.  Actions You Can Take To Reduce Lead in Drinking Water (by the US EPA)

1.  OVERVIEW.  Sources of Lead in Drinking WaterU.S. EPA reports: 
                      Lead levels in your drinking water are likely to be highest if:
                      (Y)our home has faucets or fittings of brass which contains some lead, 
                       (Y)our home or water system has lead pipes, or
                       (Y)our home has copper pipes with solder, and
                       (T)he house is less than five years old, or
                       (Y)ou have naturally soft water, or
                       (W)ater often sits in the pipes for several hours.

(Source:  In Its Entirety from:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
EPA 810-F-93-001  June 1993,  Last updated on Friday, April 25th, 2003
En Espaņol )

2.  Determining If Lead Sources Carry Your Tap Water: 

     Where is the Lead and Who Is Responsible for it?  The question is whether any lead fixtures, lead pipes or lead mains in the city's system, on your property or in your home - from sink to sink -- services your water.

     (1) Your Public Water Mains comprise the system of arteries that carry water throughout the city. 

     i.   Lead lines. Over 23,000 of the mains in D.C. are lead lines.  WASA indicates that they can inform you of whether the city-controlled pipes, or water mains, going to your house are actually made of lead.  The remaining lines are made of copper.  See this information regarding the accuracy of WASA's information about the type of service lines that you have.

     ii.   Copper Lines.  Even if your water mains are made of copper, you still need to determine if lead soldering was used to seal the copper pipes, as it was done routinely until 1985, when the practice began to taper off.  See more on copper pipes used with lead solder.

          (2) Pipes Beginning on Your Property Line.  These pipes connect the waterways going from from the public water main to your land.  These pipes are the responsibility of the property-owner and WASA indicates that they DO NOT maintain records regarding the material making up these pipes.  You must determine this from

         (a)property records (b)the builder of the house

         (c) the previous owner (d) an expert such as a plumber

      (3) Pipes inside your house may consist of lead material, with variations within the same home and so it is advisable, to check each and every sink.

          Also, new brass faucets and fittings can also leach lead, even though they are "lead-free."  (From U.S. EPA Actions You Can Take To Reduce Lead in Drinking Water. Last updated on Friday, April 25th, 2003).

         (4)  What do plastic, lead, and copper pipes look like?  Read here. (Disclaimer:  We do not advise scraping or otherwise handling pipes but suggest that you hire an expert to handle material as scrapings from some pipes may be hazardous to your health*).

3.  Testing Lead in Your Home's Water

(Excerpts from U.S. EPA,  Actions You Can Take To Reduce Lead, updated April 2003 ...)

     1.: How do I have my water tested?

      A. Water samples from the tap will have to be collected and sent to a
qualified laboratory for analysis. Contact your local water utility or your
local health department for information and assistance. In some instances,
these authorities will test your tap water for you, or they can refer you to
a qualified laboratory.

           i.   You may find a qualified testing company under
'Laboratories" in the yellow pages of your telephone directory. You should
be sure that the lab you use has been approved by your state or by EPA as
being able to analyze drinking water samples for lead contamination. To find
out which labs are qualified, contact your state or local department of the
environment or health.

           ii  You will need a testing kit (from your local hardware store) to draw water sample for testing. 

            a.  Two Hardware Stores that Sell water test kits that can be sent to a private 


                 1. Frager's Hardware, Washington, D.C. 2. Strosniders:  Bethesda, MD

                 2.: What are the testing procedures?

       A: Arrangements for sample collection will vary. A few laboratories will
send a trained technician to take the samples; but in most cases, the lab
will provide sample containers along with instructions as to how you should
draw your own tap-water samples. If you collect the samples yourself, make
sure you follow the lab's instructions exactly. Otherwise, the results might
not be reliable. Make sure that the laboratory is following EPA's water
sampling and analysis procedures. Be certain to take a "first draw" and a
"fully flushed" sample.

4.  Actions You Can Take To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water by the U.S. EPA

(In Its Entirety from:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead/lead1.html)
EPA 810-F-93-001  June 1993,  Last updated on Friday, April 25th, 2003
En Espaņol )

Flush Your Pipes Before Drinking
Anytime the water in a particular faucet has not been used for six hours or longer, "flush" your cold-water pipes by running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get. (This could take as little as five to thirty seconds if there has been recent heavy water use such as showering or toilet flushing. Otherwise, it could take two minutes or longer.) The more time water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain.

Only Use Cold Water for Consumption
Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead.The two actions recommended above are very important to the health of your family. They will probably be effective in reducing lead levels because most of the lead in household water usually comes from the plumbing in your house, not from the local water supply.

Have Your Water Tested
After you have taken the two precautions above for reducing the lead in water used for drinking or cooking, have your water tested. The only way to be sure of the amount of lead in your household water is to have it tested by a competent laboratory. Your water supplier may be able to offer information or assistance with testing. Testing is especially important for apartment dwellers, because flushing may not be effective in high-rise buildings with lead-soldered central piping.  (From, "Actions You Can Take, U.S. EPA)

* Disclaimer.  Nothing in the pages of these websites constitutes professional scientific or technical or medical advice.  Consult appropriate health care and technical experts for advice.  We are not responsible for and deny any responsibility or liability for actions or assumptions made in connection with the contents of pages on other websites.