The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Connecticut Department of Public Health require regular testing for copper and lead by public water systems across the country. Because of its very strong public health and safety record, NPU is required to test for copper and lead less frequently, every three years
“NPU has no higher priority than the safety of our customers,” said John Bilda, General Manager at NPU. “These test results reconfirm that our water system continues to be operated and maintained at the highest standard, assuring that our customers have access to safe and clean water every single day.”
Between July and September this year, NPU collected and analyzed water samples from 30 residential locations in its service territory. NPU’s testing program was accepted by the Connecticut Department of Public Health and the properties targeted by NPU were those where the presence of lead piping was most likely.
Water samples taken at all 30 locations were below federal and state action levels for the presence of both copper and lead.
As part of NPU’s water treatment process, a tiny amount of orthophosphate is added to the water before it is distributed to customers. This chemical minimizes the potential corrosion of lead pipes in the older homes in NPU’s service territory. In Flint, Michigan, this critical step was not taken as a cost-saving measure, and many believe this failure was a major contributor to the ongoing crisis in that community.
NPU has conducted extensive inspections of its existing infrastructure along with historical records and have not identified any lead service pipes on its property. However, NPU’s infrastructure ends at the property line of the residences and businesses it serves.
Given the age of the housing stock in Norwich and the other communities served by NPU, it is probable that a very small percentage of residences still have lead water services on their property. The only way to be certain of the presence of lead in a home is to have a reputable plumber inspect a home’s service line, internal pipes, lead solders and fixtures that may contain lead.
While the lead levels for NPU’s water supply are below the action level, customers who are concerned about lead exposure in their home are encouraged to ask their health care providers about testing children to determine levels of lead in their blood.
For more information on NPU’s water testing program, please visit: http://www.norwichpublicutilities.com/images/water_testing_program_summer_2016.pdf