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Water Utility

Kent Taylor: Director of Water Utility

Phone: 920-886-6180 Fax: 920-886-6250 Email: water@ci.neenah.wi.us

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Lead Education

Lead and Our Water

Lead Public Education: This brochure contains information provided by the Wisconsin DNR regarding lead issues, and also includes contact information for local water testing.

Lead Testing Labs

Click here for State of Wisconsin Certified Labs for testing water.

 

Lead FAQs:

Questions and Answers Regarding Lead Piping.

How do I know if I have lead pipes in my house?

Lead was used as a building material previous to 1960. If your house is older than that, it may have a lead service. Some of the older houses have replaced the lead services with copper. Copper has a shiny brown metallic appearance. Lead usually has a dull gray appearance. Some houses also have galvanized steel pipe which does not create a problem.

How do I know if there are lead pipes between my house and the water main in the street?

The property owner owns the service from the house to the water main. The Water Utility is responsible for repair to the service from the water main to the curb stop. If the Water Utility recently replaced the water main in the street, they probably replaced the service up to the curb stop. If the service into your house just before the water meter is not copper, but appears to be lead, it is likely that the service all the way to the curb stop and maybe to the water main is lead.

How many homes in Neenah have lead pipes?

Originally, we estimated there were 5,000 homes in Neenah with lead services. Since 1994 we have replaced about 2,080 of the services from the water main to the curb stop. More are being replaced each year as we upgrade the distribution system.

Are there other sources of lead in my house?

Brass and bronze fixtures installed before 1984 may contain high amounts of lead. Houses built before 1984 that use copper pipe, may have lead solder. Houses built after 1984 should not have lead solder.

Is there lead pipe in the water distribution system?

Of the 141 miles of water main in the City of Neenah, there is no lead water main remaining in the system.

What is the lead level at my house?

The Water Utility is only required to sample thirty locations throughout the City. If your house was one of the sample locations, you have been notified of the lead level at your house. The Water Utility cannot perform the lead analysis, but must send the work out to a private laboratory. If you want to know the lead level at your house, you will need to contact a laboratory that can sample and test for lead. In the Fox Valley, there are two laboratories that do this work, Badger Laboratory in Neenah and Clean Water

Testing in Appleton. The cost should be about $30.

What is the acceptable lead level?

The EPA and DNR acceptable level for lead is 15 parts per billion or less. The lead levels in each house will vary with age and materials used.

If I have a high lead level, what can I do?

Flush the tap before drinking or cooking with water, if the faucet has not been used for several hours. To flush, run the water for 15-30 seconds until the water becomes noticeably colder. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap.

What is the Utility doing to resolve the high lead level problem?

We add chemicals that are used to coat the inside of your pipes and prevent lead from leaching out. The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and the DNR, approve the chemical for use in potable water.

Do “point of use devices” (filters at the tap, etc.) reduce lead?

Some of the devices may remove lead in the water. It is important to check the product specifications to be sure. However, if one of these devices is used, it is extremely important to follow all maintenance requirements. If these requirements are not followed, other water quality problems can be created.

Should my service and/or house plumbing be replaced?

This is extremely expensive and generally not necessary.

Is there a program that will fund replacement of my lead pipes?

There may be money available for low-income families.

Should I switch to bottled water?

Generally, bottled water does not go through the same rigorous testing procedure that the municipal water supply does. Therefore, there can be other problems that arise from drinking bottled water. If you are going to drink bottled water, choose a brand that is supplied by a water treatment plant.

What are the health effects of lead?

Lead can accumulate in the body over the years and cause damage to the brain, red blood cells and the kidney. The greatest risk is to young children and pregnant women. Lead can cause delays in normal physical and mental development in children and slight deficits in attention spans, hearing, and learning disabilities. Lead can also increase blood pressure in adults.

Who is at the greatest risk?

Lead can accumulate in the body over the years and cause damage to the brain, red blood cells and the kidney. The greatest risk is to young children and pregnant women. Lead can cause delays in normal physical and mental development in children and slight deficits in attention spans, hearing, and learning disabilities. Lead can also increase blood pressure in adults.