Lead and Drinking Water

Important Information about Lead and Drinking Water

The drinking water produced by the Springfield Water and Sewer Commission originates from a surface water supply, the Cobble Mountain Reservoir, located in Western Massachusetts.

How does lead get into drinking water?

Lead enters drinking water primarily by leaching from plumbing that contains lead, such as a lead service line that connects a home/building to the water main in the street, or from plumbing and fixtures inside the customer’s home. This is most likely to occur when the water is not moving, generally overnight or at other times when the water is not used for several hours.

What does the Commission do to prevent lead from entering drinking water?

The Commission has taken multiple steps to prevent lead from entering drinking water. All known lead service lines have been removed. At the treatment plant, water is treated to inhibit the corrosion of home plumbing. This treatment creates a coating within home plumbing that helps to prevent lead from leaching into water that has been sitting in the home’s plumbing and fixtures. Additionally, the Commission has a stable water supply that has provided water to the residents of Springfield since the 1930’s.

What extra steps can I take to prevent exposure to lead in drinking water?

An extra precaution you can take to reduce potential exposure is to flush the tap. Let the water run from the faucet before using it for drinking or cooking any time the water has gone unused for more than six hours. This means running the cold water faucet until the water gets noticeably colder, usually about 30 seconds to two minutes. This ensures that the water being used is from the main in the street, rather than the water that has been sitting in the home plumbing.

Remember to use only cold water for cooking and drinking; do not drink or cook with water from the hot water tap. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water.

Do I have a lead service line?

In 1992, the Commission began a proactive program to remove lead service lines from the water system, and as of November 2005, all known lead service lines have been removed and replaced. If you would like to find out when your service line was installed and what material it is made of, please contact us for more information.

Does the Commission test for lead in drinking water?

The Commission is required to perform lead and copper testing every three years at a sampling of homes/buildings per the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR).

The Commission completed a voluntary round of lead and copper testing in 2016 and was in compliance with lead and copper action levels:

lcr-results-2016
*Click on the table to see all results.

The Commission completed a required round of lead and copper testing in 2015 and was in compliance with lead and copper action levels:

LCR Results 2015

GLOSSARY:
AL = Action Level – The concentration of a contaminant that if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements that a water system must follow.
MCL = Maximum Contaminant Level – The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCL’s are set as close to the MCLG’s as feasible using the best available treatment technology.
MCLG = Maximum Contaminant Level Goal – The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLG’s allow for a margin of safety.
ppm = parts per million
ppb = parts per billion

Who can I call to have my water tested for lead?

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) maintains a list of certified laboratories. Click here to access DEP’s online searchable laboratory listing. In the search criteria, select State (MA), Region (Western), and Analyte (Lead), then hit search.

Where can I get more information on lead in drinking water?

DrinkTap.org
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Where can I get more information on the quality of Springfield’s water?

The Commission publishes an annual water quality report which talks about the source of the drinking water, shows water quality results from the previous calendar year, and contains other important information about water and health. Click here for our most recent water quality report.