Information on Lead in Drinking Water

Where does lead in water come from?

Lead is almost never present when water flows from the treatment facility, nor is it present in the water mains running beneath the streets. However, in some older homes, lead may be present in the pipe connecting the home to the water system – known as a service line — or in the home plumbing. Lead in service pipes, plumbing or fixtures can dissolve or particles can break off into water and end up at the tap.

How much lead in water is too much?

Lead can be harmful even at very low levels and can accumulate in our bodies over time, so wherever possible, steps should be taken to reduce or eliminate your household’s exposure. While risks vary based on individual circumstances and the amount of water consumed, no concentration of lead is considered “safe.” Households with pregnant women, infants, or young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead at low levels.

Health Impacts of Lead

Lead is dangerous to everyone, but children six and under are at the greatest risk because lead can:

  • Slow a child’s growth and development
  • Cause behavior and learning problems
  • Cause hearing and speech problems
  • At high levels, lead exposure may cause problems with the kidneys and the development of red blood cells, and may lead to seizures and death.
  •  Most children have no symptoms when they are exposed to lead.
  • Lead poisoning can decrease IQ, and increase learning disabilities & behavioral disorders, and cause low iron.
  • Children between the ages of 9 months and 6 years of age are at the greatest risk of exposure to lead because they are apt to put fingers, hands, and toys in their mouths.

How can I reduce my child’s risk of lead exposure?

Lead poisoning is 100% preventable.  You can reduce the risk of your child becoming exposed by:

  • Keeping your home clean and dust free by picking up any paint chips you see and by wet mopping (Childhood lead poisoning is nearly always the result of ingesting lead dust from deteriorated lead-based paint in the home.)
  • Washing your child’s hands frequently, especially before meals and snacks
  • Feeding your child foods that are high in calcium and iron such as leafy green vegetables, cheese, yogurt, and poultry or fish
  • Running the cold water 1-3 minutes in the morning before using it if you have older plumbing
  • Only using cold water for cooking, making baby formula and mixing drinks

Let's Get the Lead Out

This video was developed by the American Water Works Association to explain how lead can get into drinking water and what you can do to protect your household.

How to Find Out if You Have a Lead Water Service Line

NYS Department of Health has created a video on how to determine the type of material for your water service line.

LCWSA has inspected many properties for lead service lines. For more information regarding your residence, please call the Authority at (585) 346-3523 or complete the form below.

Request for Lead and Copper Results or Inspection