Lead enters drinking water primarily through plumbing materials. EPA and state regulations require water systems to monitor for the presence of lead at household taps every three years. Everett conducted its latest round of monitoring in 2018. The EPA action level is a maximum of 15 parts per billion for 90% of the samples. The highest level found in the 108 homes tested was 8 parts per billion. The 90th percentile result—the highest result obtained in 90 percent of the samples—was 2 parts per billion.
Everett’s source water contains virtually no lead and Everett has eliminated lead lines and connections from its distribution system. Therefore, these results indicate that the lead level at household taps is most likely due to the corrosion of household plumbing systems. More information about lead monitoring requirements can be found at the Environmental Protection Agency's website.
Pregnant women and young children can be more vulnerable to lead in drinking water than the general population. If you have concerns about lead levels in your household water, there are several steps you can take:
- If you live in older housing built before the mid-1940s, run your tap at least two minutes after water has sat in the pipes for six hours or more. This will help flush out any lead that may have accumulated in your pipes.
- If you live in newer housing and are concerned about lead, you can flush your pipes by running your tap until the water is noticeably cooler.
- Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Hot water may contain higher levels of lead.
- Clean the screens and aerators in faucets frequently to remove captured lead particles.
- Use only “lead free” piping and materials for plumbing when building or remodeling.
- You can also have your water tested. Many certified labs in Washington perform these tests for $20 to $40 per test.
For more information on lead in drinking water, or to find a certified lab near you, go to the Washington State Department of Health. Additional information is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) or at the Environmental Protection Agency.