City of Saratoga Springs
Department of Public Works
Anthony “Skip” Scirocco, Commissioner of Public Works
This notice is brought to you by the City of Saratoga Springs. State Water System ID# NY4500168.
Date: August 31, 2017
The City of Saratoga Springs found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger. Please read this notice closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water.
Health Effects of Lead
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.
What Happened? What is Being Done?
Elevated levels of lead were found in a small number of households that were sampled during routine water testing. Sixty (60) samples were collected between January 1 and June 30, 2017. More than 10% of these sample results (seven samples total) exceeded the lead action level of 15 micrograms per liter (ug/l). In July, confirmatory samples were obtained at the seven homes that were originally above the lead threshold, and five of the seven were below the lead threshold; however, some variation in results is expected.
Both of the City’s public water sources at the Water Treatment Plant and Geyser Crest Subdivision tested at “non-detect” levels for lead. The water provided by the City does not contain lead; however lead can enter the water when it remains in contact with pipes or fixtures that contain lead for an extended period of time.
DPW has contracted with a qualified engineering firm, Barton & Logudice to conduct a water corrosion control study. This study will assess our water chemistry and identify methods to prevent lead and/or other harmful contaminants from leaching into the water. The Water Treatment Plant will also monitor for lead and copper every six (6) months until we have determined that corrosion control treatment is effective, and the lead levels within our system are below the action level. Continued routine testing will ensure our residents do not have unacceptable levels of lead and copper in their water going forward.
How Lead Gets Into the Water in Your Home
The sources of supply for the City of Saratoga Springs do not contain lead. When water is in contact with pipes or plumbing that contains lead for several hours, the lead may enter drinking water. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. New homes may also have lead; even “lead-free” plumbing may contain some lead.
Plumbing materials, including pipes, new brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. In 1986 Congress Amended the Safe Drinking Water Act, prohibiting the use of pipes, solder or flux that were not “lead free” in public water systems or plumbing in facilities providing water for human consumption.
Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Exposure To Lead In Your Water
- Run your water to flush out lead. Run water for 15-30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking, if it hasn’t been used for several hours. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Replace your plumbing fixtures if they are found to contain lead. Plumbing materials, including pipes, new brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8% lead to be labeled as “lead free.”
- Use bottled water or use a water filter. If your home is served by a lead service line, and/or if lead containing plumbing materials are found to be in your home, you may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter.
Want to Know the Lead Concentration in Your Tap Water?
To obtain a free lead test kit to test the water in your home system please email FreeWaterTesting@health.ny.gov directly or call the State Health Department at (518) 402-7650. Further information about this program is available here: http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/lead/free_lead_testing_pilot_program.htm.
Want More Information or Have Questions About Lead in Your System? Contact Us:
If you have any questions about this notice or concerns about lead in your home system, please contact the 24-hour water response line established at the Water Treatment Plant: 518-584-1848. You can also call the New York State Department of Health Glens Falls District Office, at 518-793-3893 for more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead.