HERKIMER, N.Y. – Village of Herkimer officials say high levels of lead and copper have been found in the drinking water at some homes and buildings that use the public water system.
According to the village, the water system exceeded normal levels of both lead and copper throughout the sampling period from January to June. The village has been blending well water and surface water to help prevent corrosion since 2009, without finding any abnormal levels of lead.
Officials say the village will do a study to see how to improve corrosion control within the water system moving forward.
To find out if a home has a lead service line, residents can gently scratch the pipe with a key. If it turns a bright silver color, the pipe is made of lead. The village advises people not to use a knife or sharp object to scratch, as it may puncture the pipe. Water lines are usually located in the basement.
The following steps can be taken to reduce exposure to lead in water:
- Run water to flush out lead. If water hasn’t been used for several hours, run it for 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking. 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 plumbing fixtures if they are found to contain lead. Plumbing materials including brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law previously allowed end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8% lead to be labeled as “lead free.” As of Jan. 4, 2014, end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, fittings and valves, must meet the new “lead-free” definition of having no more than 0.25% lead on a weighted average. To find out how to identify lead-free certification marks on new fixtures, click here.
- Use bottled water or use a water filter. If a home is served by a lead service line, and/or if lead containing plumbing materials are found to be in a home, residents may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter devices in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality.
Anyone who has lead pipes in their home and believes their water should be tested, should call the village at 315-866-3303.