How does lead get into drinking water?

Lead water pipes can sometimes be found in older homes. Drinking water faucets manufactured before 2014 were allowed to contain up to eight percent (8%) lead. This lead can sometimes find its way into our drinking water.

Lead found in drinking water is soluble or particulate.  Soluble lead is lead that is dissolved in water. Particulate lead is small pieces of lead from lead-containing material. Either type of lead can get into your drinking water when pipes or faucets containing lead begin to break down or dissolve.  The amount of lead that can end up in drinking water depends on:

  • Water chemistry (what is in the water)
  • Contact with lead-containing items (if it passes through lead plumbing or fixtures)
  • Water use (how often and in what amount water runs through plumbing and fixtures)
  • Construction or plumbing repairs in the street or home (particulate lead can be released)

Show All Answers

1. What is lead?
2. How can I be exposed to lead?
3. How does lead get into drinking water?
4. How can I prevent being exposed to lead in my water?
5. Why does flushing the water before drinking make it safe?
6. What are some of the health problems lead can cause?
7. Where can I get my child’s blood tested for lead?
8. What does an "elevated blood lead level" mean?
9. Should I have my child tested for lead?
10. Where can I go to get my water tested?
11. Will it cost me anything to get my water tested for lead?
12. What else is the Berrien County Health Department doing?
13. What is a lead service line?
14. How do I know if I have a lead service line going to my house?
15. Where can I go to find more information?