Lead in Drinking Water

Lead Awareness

Lead is not found in Cudahy's source water of public water system.  However, lead can enter water as the result of the wearing away of materials containing lead in building fixtures, internal plumbing, or in the service line that brings water to your home.   When water stands for several hours or more in fixtures or pipes that contain lead, the lead may leach into the water.  It is also possible that physical disturbance of the piping may release lead into the water.

Since 1994, the Cudahy Water Utility has safely treated its water with ortho-phosphate to reduce the risk of lead leaching from plumbing materials into water. This compound forms a protective coating inside pipes and is considered to be the best practice for the control of lead in drinking water.  However, some homes are more at risk for lead in drinking water due to characteristics of the plumbing at the individual residence.

Which homes are most at risk of having lead in drinking water?

  • Homes with lead household plumbing. This can be determind by a licensed plumber.
  • Homes with copper piping and lead solder installed between 1982 and 1987. Lead-based solder was banned for use after this time.
  • Homes with faucets or fittings of brass which contain some lead.  Plumbing and fixtures installed before January 1, 2014 or purchased from sources outside of the United States may contain lead.
  • Homes where the service line connecting the water main in the street to the building is made of lead.  Approximately 1,500 properties in the Cudahy Water Utility service area constructed before 1950 are known to have lead service lines.

How to reduce the risk of lead in your drinking water:

  • Flush your plumbing before using tap water for drinking or cooking. Flush by running the kitchen faucet on cold for a minimum of 3 minutes.
  • Use only cold water for cooking and drinking.  Water from the hot tap water can dissolve lead more easily than cold water.  Boiling water will not reduce the amount of lead in your drinking or cooking water.  In fact, boiling can concentrate the lead in water.
  • Inspect your faucet aerator. The aerator on the end of your faucet is a screen that can catch debris, including particles of lead.  It is recommended to periodically remove the aerator and rinse out any debris.
  • Purchase a home filtration system. Home drinking water filtration systems can reduce or eliminate lead.  Be sure to look for products certified by NSF/ANSI under Standard 53 for removal of lead.
  • Replace your lead service line or interior plumbing.  Replacement must be done by a licensed plumber under contract from the homeowner.

Additional Resources:

Please direct any lead-related questions to:
Frank Miller, Cudahy Water Utility Superintendent