Edgerton officials say high levels of lead found in water sampled at test homes last year could be caused by lead pipes.
The city is required to sample water for lead in some older homes. Six of the 40 homes sampled in the fall had excessive concentrations of lead—more than 15 parts per billion—according to the state Department of Natural Resources.
It’s the second time in a year the city’s water samples have shown high lead levels. In 2017, three of the city’s 20 test homes contained high lead concentrations.
In an email to The Gazette, Adam DeWeese, natural resources program manager with the DNR, said the city has initiated systemwide studies because 10% of its samples exceeded the lead levels.
Homes in the sampling pool are considered Tier 1, meaning they are at higher risk for lead leaching into drinking water. DeWeese said the city currently is conducting a corrosion control treatment study and is evaluating water quality.
City Administrator Ramona Flanigan said Friday that officials sampled the city’s wells and distribution lines after receiving the test results. The city’s well water tested clean, Flanigan said, and some lead was detected in the main lines, but it was not a significant amount.
Residents were notified immediately if their samples exceeded the standard lead level, Flanigan said. The violating samples were collected between July and November 2018.
The city sampled water at 40 homes earlier in 2018, and not more than 10% of those tests exceeded the standard lead level. In some cases, the water might have been sampled after lead left the pipes through such actions as flushing toilets or taking showers.
Flanigan said all signs point to lead pipes causing the high lead levels.
“It’s coming out of the ground fine,” Flanigan said. “When it’s in the pipes, it’s fine ... and then when it gets to a house, it’s not.”
Flanigan said the city only samples water in older homes, which are more likely to have lead service lines. DeWeese said corrosion control treatment and removal of lead sources are the best ways to reduce lead exposure.
The state requires a city to deliver public education up to 60 days after the end of a monitoring period if more than 10% of its samples exceed the standard lead level, DeWeese said.
“I think that everyone should just be knowledgeable,” Flanigan said. “If you live in a house that’s older, just be knowledgeable about what’s going on and take whatever protection you can to protect yourself.”