In recent months, The White House and the EPA have rolled out lead service line replacement initiatives and new regulations that went into effect in December 2021. However, Indiana American Water has already made significant progress in placing lead service lines since its Lead Service Line Replacement Plan was approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in July 2018.
Lead can pose a serious health risk, particularly to developing fetuses, infants, and children. If lead exists in your household plumbing, take the steps needed to minimize your potential exposure.
We’re committed to protecting Indiana residents from the harmful effects of lead in drinking water. That’s why we emphasize lead education and proactive efforts to combat lead exposure across the state. The most common source of lead in tap water is from the customer’s plumbing and service line. We test and monitor for a wide range of contaminants, including lead.
Read on to learn more about our efforts and how you can protect your family.
Our Lead Service Line Replacement Plan
Once our replacement plan was approved in 2018, Indiana American Water got to work in partnership with the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) to replace all lead service lines in our Indiana service areas by no later than 2042.
Through the implementation of this plan, we will reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water for more than 50,000 of our customers who have lead pipes and service lines connecting their homes or businesses to water mains across the state.
Historically, water utilities would typically do partial lead service line replacement projects that only replaced the utility-owned portion of lead service lines. Indiana American Water was the first water utility in the state to file a plan for lead service line replacement following the passage of House Enrolled Act 1519 in 2017.
HEA 1519 contained, among other things, a process for water utilities to obtain authority to replace customer-owned lead service lines, even though the lines are not owned by the utility.
How to Know if You Need Lead Service Line Replacement
Lead in drinking water is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. The only way to know for sure if your water is contaminated with lead is to conduct a proper test. If you live in an older home, consider having a licensed plumber check your plumbing for lead. If your service line is made of lead, and you’re planning to replace it, be sure to contact IAW at 1-800-492-8373.
Some factors can point to the presence of lead pipes in your Indiana home regardless of whether you conduct testing or not.
These factors include:
- Your home was built before 1986
- You have soft or acidic water
- Your pipes are a dull grey color
- Your pipes can be easily scratched to reveal a shiny surface underneath
If you suspect you have lead pipes or lead in your drinking water, it’s important to call a licensed plumber right away for inspection and testing. To find out where you can have your water tested by a certified laboratory, contact the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or visit the Indiana Department of Environmental Management online.
Lead test strips that test for the presence of lead in plumbing are available at local hardware stores. You can also visit Indiana American Wate’s “Lead and Drinking Water” webpage for more information about our company’s lead service line replacement efforts and our plans for your area.
Our Approach to Corrosion Control
We take steps to reduce the potential for lead to leach from your pipes into the water. This is accomplished by adding a corrosion inhibitor to the water leaving our treatment facilities, where needed. Some source waters are non-aggressive by nature, meaning there is no need to add corrosion control treatment.
Result from Lead Sampling
The results from samples collected in your water system are included in your annual water quality report (also known as the Consumer Confidence Report) as well as in the Typical Water Quality Summary, both of which can be found on our Water Quality Reports page.
How to Minimize Your Lead Exposure
Not an Indiana American Water customer? Or are you waiting on a professional to replace lead service lines or your internal plumbing? If you know you have lead pipes or lead in your drinking water, below are some tips and tricks to minimize your exposure to lead.
Flush Your Taps
If you do have lead pipes, your water has the potential to be contaminated the longer it remains stagnant in your water lines. If you have not run your faucet in six hours or more, run the tap with cold water for 2 minutes before consuming any water. You can still collect the flushed water for plant watering or other similar uses to avoid unnecessary water waste.
Use Cold Water
When it comes to drinking and cooking when you have lead pipes, cold water is the safest option. Hot water has the potential to contain more lead than cold water. When you need hot water, heat cold water on the stove or in the microwave. It’s important to keep in mind that boiling water can’t remove lead from your drinking water.
Always Buy “Lead-Free”
When it’s time to replace or install new plumbing fixtures, always look for a “lead-free” label. These products adhere to the 2011 Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act and will have less than 0.25% of lead. This can help reduce the amount of lead in your drinking water.
Clean Faucet Screens
Routinely cleaning your faucet screens can help clear sediment and metals that have collected at the tip of your faucets. When you notice your screen is wearing out, replace it with a new one as soon as possible to prevent increased water contamination.
For more information on lead exposure prevention visit the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.
Do I Need a Home Filter for Lead?
The need for a home treatment device is a customer’s decision. If you choose to purchase a home filter, NSF International Created a Consumer Guide to NSF Certified Lead Filtration Devices for Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water for your convenience.
Always consult the device manufacturer for information on treatment device maintenance and potential impacts on your drinking water or household plumbing.
Indiana American Water is Committed to Your Safety
At Indiana American Water, providing a safe, reliable water supply is our top priority. For more information on lead drinking water, check out the resources in this blog or on our website, and start protecting your family from lead contamination today.