Cincinnati Water Works paying for removal of dangerous lead water supply lines

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Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW) is now offering no-cost replacement of lead water supply lines to its residential customers.

Increased revenue has supplied GCWW the funds required to cover the full cost to homeowners for replacement of lead pipes connecting residences to the public water supply. Customer eligibility information is posted on GCWW’s website at the Lead Service Line Replacement Program page.

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Screen shot of map showing buildings with lead pipe. Yellow indicates presence of lead pipe.

Lead in drinking water is the result of corrosion of water supply pipes, plumbing fixtures, faucets and welding solder that contains lead. Corrosion is caused by the chemical reaction between water and the plumbing system it flows through. The result is lead leaching into water. Lead contamination causes serious negative health consequences for humans. According to the Ohio Department of Health, infants and children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning. Children and adults can suffer damage to the brain and nervous system, become anemic, experience hearing and speech difficulties and behavior problems. Lead poisoning can also result in lower IQs for adults.

The piping that brings water into a home is referred to as the supply line. A residential supply line consists of two main sections, the public side and the private side. GCWW owns and is responsible for the public side of the supply line. Property owners own and are responsible for the private side. The private side of the supply line connects to the public system at the water meter. A meter is usually positioned on a property line or near a sidewalk.

GCWW has determined there are approximately 15,000 lead service lines on the public side of the system and as many as 40,000 on the private side of the service area. GCWW has established a goal of removing all lead service lines from the system in by 2036. According to Leslie Moening. Director of the Lead Water Line Assistance Program, GCWW will achieve the public side removal goal on time; however, eliminating 40,000 private side supply lines will be difficult without greater participation by customers.

Customers who are interested to know if their residence has a lead water supply line can call GCWW’s Lead Hotline at 513-651-5323 for details. GCWW also provides customers a lead water service line locater on their website. GCWW interactive mapping tool will locate and identify the supply line material type of record for every property in service.

Additionally, GCWW customers can order free lead testing kits and water analysis services on the Greater Cincinnati Waterworks webpage. If you are a Greater Cincinnati Water Works customer, the Sierra Club encourages you to investigate the material type of the water supply line of your residence. If eligible, homeowners should take full advantage of testing and the opportunity to replace a lead service line. Renters can participate by advising the property owner of the program.

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