VILLAGE OF NYACK
BOARD OF WATER COMMISSIONERS
9 North Broadway, Nyack, NY 10960 (845) 358-0641
Nyack Water Department – General Public Education
Public water suppliers routinely collect water samples to help determine if the water is contaminated with lead from water service pipes and household plumbing. The best time to collect these samples is typically early morning, after the water has been sitting in the pipes for a long period of time. This provides the greatest opportunity for lead to leach from the plumbing materials into the water supply. These early morning samples, taken before anyone has an opportunity to use the water, are referred to as “first draw samples,” and are designed to help evaluate the worst case potential for the presence of lead in the drinking water. Seven (7) out of thirty (30) first draw samples collected from June to September 2011 in the Village of Nyack’s water system caused Nyack’s water system to exceed the regulatory action level for lead. Sixty More samples were collected from January to June 2012 and only two samples exceeded the state limit. We are currently collecting another sixty samples from July to December 2012. “Nyack’s water source has recently been tested, and no lead was present in the water being produced by the system. Though not evaluated for regulatory purposes, lead concentrations will likely be lower after the water has been running. See below for more details.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER
The Village of Nyack Water Department found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger. Please read this notice closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water.
This notice is brought to you by The Village of Nyack Water Department; State Water System ID# 4303666, NOVEMBER 2012.
Health Effects of Lead
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.
Sources of Lead
Lead is a common metal found in the environment. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure. The primary source of lead exposure for most children is lead-based paint. Other sources of lead exposure include lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in a number of consumer products, including certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Other sources include exposure in the work place (jobs that include house painting, plumbing, renovation, construction, auto repair, welding, electronics repair, jewelry or pottery repair) and exposure from certain hobbies (such as stained glass or pottery, fishing, making or shooting firearms and collecting lead or pewter figurines), as lead can be carried on clothing and shoes. Children’s hands or their toys can come into contact with lead in paint, dust and soil. Therefore, washing children’s hands and their toys will help reduce the potential for lead exposure from these sources
Plumbing materials, including pipes, new brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8 percent lead to be labeled as “lead free.” However, plumbing fixtures labeled National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) certified may only have up to 2 percent lead. Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.The raw water source for the Village of Nyack’s water is the Hackensack River, which flows from Lake Deforest to our treatment plant in West Nyack. Although source waters do not typically contribute significant amounts of lead to tap water, we have sampled our source and are currently awaiting results. When water is in contact with pipes, service lines or plumbing that contains lead for several hours, some lead may dissolve or leach from the plumbing materials and thus enter drinking water. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have interior plumbing containing lead. New homes may also have lead; even “lead-free” plumbing may contain some lead.
Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Exposure To Lead In Your Water
- Run your water to flush out lead. Run water for 15-30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking, if it hasn’t been used for several hours. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes.
- Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Replace your plumbing fixtures if they are found to contain lead. Plumbing materials, including pipes, new brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8% lead to be labeled as “lead free.” Visit the National Sanitation Foundation Web site at: www.nsf.org/Certified/Lead_content/ to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures.
- Use bottled water or use a water filter. If your home is served by a lead service line, and/or if lead containing plumbing materials are found to be in your home, you may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org/Certified/Lead_content/ for information on performance standards for water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. Any measure you take to reduce your exposure to lead should be continued until the lead source(s) has been minimized or eliminated.
Should you test your water for lead?
If lead-containing plumbing materials are identified in your home, you may want to consider testing your water for lead to determine how much lead is in your drinking water. If you choose to test your water, we recommend collecting two separate samples: 1) a first draw sample, collected after the water has sat in the pipes for at least 6 hours, and 2) a running sample, collected after the water has been running for approximately 30 seconds to flush out the water that was standing in the pipes (see Step Number 1 above). The first draw sample should indicate if lead from your plumbing is leaching into your water, and the running sample will be more indicative of what you may typically be consuming. Call us at 845-358-3734 or 845-358-0641 to find out how to get your water tested for lead. The independent lab that the Nyack Water Department uses is EnviroTest Laboratories Inc., 315 Fullerton Avenue, Newburg, NY 12550. Their telephone number is 845-562-0890. You can make arrangements with us if you would like to have them test your water for lead. The combined cost of having Envirotest run both tests is $40.00. You can pick up and drop off the sample bottles at our water office at 9 North Broadway, Nyack, NY. You could also have your water tested at Westchester County Laboratories. Their telephone number is 914-231-1620. You would have to arrange to collect and deliver your samples to them at 10 Dana Road, Valhalla, NY 10595.
Should your child be tested for lead?
New York Public Health Law requires primary health care providers to screen each child for blood lead levels at one and two years of age as part of routine well-child care. In addition, at each routine well-child visit, or at least annually if a child has not had routine well-child visits, primary health care providers assess each child who is at least six-months of age, but under six years of age, for high lead exposure. Each child found to be at risk for high lead exposure is screened or referred for lead screening.
If your child has not had routine well-child visits (since the age of one year) and you are concerned about lead exposure to your child, contact your healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead.
What Happened? What is Being Done?
The Nyack Water Department has been testing for lead in tap water since the inception of the requirement in 1992. Until this year, our water system has never exceeded the lead action level of 15.0 ug/L, or parts per billion. Some of the test results for the lead samples taken this year were higher than seen in any of our previous monitoring periods. These higher results have caused our water system to exceed the lead action level, which is the reason we are now providing this educational material. The sources of the lead in drinking water are typically from the internal pipes, service lines or plumbing fixtures in your home or building. The cause of the increase in lead levels in our water test results this year is not known at this time, but is under evaluation.
The Nyack Water Department is working to reduce lead levels in your homes and community. We are consulting with an engineering firm on corrosion control options that can help reduce the amount of lead that can leach into the tap water from your plumbing. In addition, we are increasing the frequency and number of sampling sites for lead testing and will be sampling for other water quality parameters that can influence the amounts of lead that get into your water. These and other data will be used to determine the most effective corrosion control option for our water system. Please be aware that performing a corrosion control study, designing and installing a treatment system, and implementing a corrosion control strategy will take time to complete in an effective manner that complies with all federal and state requirements. The best means of reducing lead exposure in the short term is by running the water before it is used as stated in Step 1 of this document.
If your home was built prior to the mid 1950’s there is a chance that you have a lead service line, rather than a copper service line that is now typically used. The service line is the pipe that connects a home or building to the water main that is located in the street. This service line is generally owned and maintained by the property owner. To determine whether the service line coming into your home is lead. Find your water meter and look at the piping on the incoming, or street, side of the meter. If the pipe looks light gray in color, gently scratch it with a nail. If it is soft and scratches easily and deeply it is most likely lead. If your service line is lead, that pipe can significantly contribute to lead levels in your water. If you determine that your home or building is served by a lead service line please notify us at 845-358-3734 or 845-358-0641. This information will help us in developing our monitoring and corrosion control plans.
For More Information
Call us at 845-358-3734 or visit our Web site at http://nyack-ny.gov/prod/. For more information on lead in drinking water, you may contact the Rockland County Department of Health at 845-364-2608, or the New York State Department of Health directly by calling the toll-free number 800-458-1158, extension 27650, if you are within New York State, or 518-402-7650 if you are out of state, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Web site at www.epa.gov/lead, or call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD.