Lead is a naturally occurring metal, but it is not often found in water supplies. Water treatment plants are also not a source of lead. Lead in water is primarily from corrosion in lead pipes found in older homes, as lead pipes were used in the service lines to homes built prior to 1986. Lead in water can also come from brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder. Lead can dissolve into water from pipes and other fixtures when it comes in contact with water that has a high acidity or low mineral content.
Lead ingestion can cause adverse health effects, especially in children, who are susceptible to lead at lower levels than adults. According to the EPA, low levels of lead exposure in children can result in behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing issues and anemia.
Lead is a regulated contaminant under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) in 1991 to control lead and copper in drinking water. The most recent revision became final in December 2021 and is designed to be more protective. Under the new rule, public water systems are required to identify and publicly share where lead is present in their service areas. If sampling shows the presence of lead concentrations exceeding a certain level, the utilities must inform customers within 24 hours of water sampling. Testing in schools and childcare centers is also required under the revised rule, which goes into effect October 2024. This new rule is part of the Biden-Harris Administration Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan. Further revisions are expected from the EPA by Oct. 16, 2024.
Learn more about lead in water from the AWWA.
There are no lead concerns with the regional water supply. Tampa Bay Water takes multiple steps to ensure its water is stable and not corrosive, and we monitor our water quality to ensure it meets the highest standards before it is delivered to our members.
No. There are no lead concerns with the regional supply. Tampa Bay Water adjusts pH and alkalinity to ensure water is not corrosive when it leaves our water treatment plants. If water doesn’t meet our high-quality standards, it doesn’t leave the plant.
No. We do not use lead pipes, but what’s important is that we routinely test our water for lead, alkalinity and pH more frequently than required to ensure quality.
If you are a property owner, there are steps you can take to address potential risks from lead in water. Lead service lines are typically only present in older homes, but older brass faucets with lead content can be in newer homes. A certified plumber can tell you for sure if you have a lead service line.
Stop using the water and contact your local utility to report the issue. Your utility may want to conduct its own test to confirm the results.
The only way to know with certainty if you have lead at the tap is to have water tested by a certified laboratory. If you are concerned, your local utility can help you find a lab to test for lead. Your local utility is where you pay your water bill. Tampa Bay Water member governments’ contacts are listed below.
If a home has a lead service line, you should contact your local utility about working together to replace it. Services lines are typically owned partially by the utility and partially by the property owner. Replacing these lines requires a collaborative effort between you and your utility.
Your local utility is where you pay your water bill. The numbers of our members are: