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Lead in Drinking Water

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The Town of Cary is committed to delivering high quality drinking water. The Town remains vigilant in water supply protection, conservation, and community education while serving the needs of all water users.

Cary’s drinking water meets all state and federal regulations, including those regarding levels of lead in tap water. Cary has always been in full compliance with the EPA's Lead and Copper testing program, which involves water sampling and testing for lead in the drinking water every three years.

How Lead Can Enter Tap Water
Lead can enter tap water in several ways. The primary source of lead in tap water is from corrosion of household plumbing materials. Home plumbing fixtures and materials can contain small amounts of lead.  If corrosion in the water system is not properly controlled, lead can leach from household plumbing into tap water. Do note that lead was effectively banned from use in home plumbing systems in 1986 under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and homes constructed after 1987 likely do not have lead in their home plumbing system.

Improper water treatment operations may be another contributor of lead in tap water. Federal and State drinking water regulations require that water treatment facilities control the corrosiveness of the water they produce. The Town of Cary maintains a rigorous  and time tested corrosion control program in order to meet these requirements and protect our customers. Additionally, Cary has not switched water supplies since the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility opened in 1993.

Drinking water regulations require that water systems take additional steps to control lead if more than 10 percent of tap water samples collected during compliance monitoring have lead levels exceeding 15 parts per billion.

Cary Water Tests
The Town of Cary has been in compliance with regulatory limits for lead and the requirements for corrosion control since the commissioning of the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility in 1993. In 2015 tests of tap water, 93 percent showed lead levels less than the analytical detection limit of three parts per billion. Tap water at only one home sampled in 2015 had lead levels above 15 parts per billion. The homeowner at this location has since replaced some plumbing fixtures in the home, and recent follow up testing showed lead levels below detection limits.

Test results are reported in Cary’s annual Water Quality Report.

Because lead levels in our water have consistently been below regulatory limits, the Town received approval for reduced monitoring status from the State in 1997.  Since that time, Cary has been required to conduct monitoring every three years. The next round is scheduled for June 2018.  However to insure that our corrosion control program remains optimized, monitoring for corrosion control parameters at the Cary/Apex Water Treatment Facility are conducted daily.

Read more about lead testing in the Town of Cary, including free home test kits.

Minimizing the Risk
The Town of Cary has no water lines made of lead. The Town maintains drinking water supplies at an optimum pH and mineral content level to help prevent corrosion in household plumbing. Corrosion inhibitors are added to help protect plumbing materials.

If concerned about potential exposure to lead in your drinking water, you can reduce the risk by running the water until it becomes as cold as it will get (from 5 seconds to 2 minutes or longer) and use only the cold water tap for drinking, cooking, and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead. Read more about steps you can take, or request a kit to test for the presence of lead in your home.

Contact:

Public Works & Utilities Customer Service
(919) 469-4090

For general information on lead exposure:

American Water Works Association

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline: (800) 426-4791

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