- Wausau Water Works recently found elevated levels of lead in drinking water. Now they're asking homeowners to be cautious when using that water. The city stopped installing lead service lines in 1965. They stopped using lead solder in 1986. Today most pipes are made of either copper or plastic. Any home with lead service lines could have lead in its water.
Lead creeps into the water when it sits in lead pipes for more than six hours. "This does become a health problem. People who are most susceptible to it are infants, young children, and pregnant women. Along with people who have had health issues such as high blood pressure or kidney disease. They are the ones who are more susceptible to having issues with the lead in the water," explained Deb Geier, Utility Resources Manager. The easiest way to help the problem is to let water run from your faucet. That usually takes about 15 to 30 seconds. "Any time the water has sat for six hours or longer, for instance when you come home from work or school, or in the morning when you first get up, is to run the water. Let the system flush through," said Geier. "Running the water is the easy fix. As long as you're getting the fresh water from the pipes and mains you should be okay. The water that we have tested, the raw water that comes into our treatment plant does not have any lead in it. So what's in the mains typically doesn't sit there that long because it feeds a lot of people." In addition to running your water, they say it's important to always run cool water out of your pipes. "What people often do when they're cooking is to take the hot water out of the faucet, when they want, for instance, to heat up some pasta or veggies or something like that. That's the no-no. Don't be using hot water for that. Hot water is more apt to draw the lead out of the pipes than cool water is," said Geier. Having pipes replaced would be the ultimate way to make sure lead doesn't get into the water. Wausau Water Works will also test homes for lead. You can call them at (715) 261-6530.
Story By: Hayley Tenpas