There is not a water quality concern with lead as it relates to Louisville’s drinking water. Louisville’s drinking water does not contain lead when it leaves the treatment plant. Lead can become a potential risk for drinking water in the distribution system with lead pipes and plumbing.
Louisville Water has a three-pronged approach in managing potential risk with lead:
- Maintaining excellent water quality with corrosion control and continual research
- A focus on maintaining the pipes that deliver water and eliminating our remaining lead service lines
- Proactive customer education
Until around 1950, it was common for water utilities to install lead service lines. In the late 1990's, Louisville Water began replacing its lead service lines with copper pipes. This year we will spend nearly $6 million to replace approximately 2,000 lead service lines. Our goal is to replace the remaining lead service lines within our system by 2020.
Louisville's Water Quality
Louisville’s drinking water does not contain lead when it leaves the treatment plants. Louisville’s drinking water meets all Environmental Protection Agency standards for lead under the Lead and Copper rule. Lead is rarely found in source water, but can enter tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials.
With the Lead and Copper Rule, sampling occurs at the customer's tap in sites with known service lines or lead/copper solder. Louisville Water's results are below the EPA Action Level.
Lead is a metal that is found in natural deposits. The greatest exposure to lead is from swallowing paint chips containing lead or breathing in lead paint dust.
Older homes (those typically built before 1950) may also have lead service lines on the customer's property that connect to Louisville Water's lines. Those water lines are the homeowner's responsibility. Louisville Water treats the water to minimize any potential of lead from leaching from plumbing fixtures and solder. If you have any concerns regarding lead in your drinking water, we'll test your water for free. Ask us today to send you a water quality test kit.
More detailed information about the overall water quality of Louisville's drinking water may be found in the annual water quality report.
Lead Service Line Replacement Program
Louisville Water has an aggressive program to replace the lead service lines in our system. We work individually with property owners. While the replacement only takes a few hours, you may see us on your street for several weeks. As with any large scale project, our lead service line replacement project results in many questions. We've compiled a list of our most frequently asked questions.
Replacing lead service lines requires communication before, during and after the project. The homeowner can expect to hear from us often.
Once we have completed the replacement of the lead service line, we will do a 60-minute flush (or ask you to do this) to remove any particles loosened during construction. Then, for the next 30 days, flush your water lines daily for five minutes. Flushing your lines is easy - watch this video to see how.
What if my home has lead pipes or lead soldered joints?
Prior to 1986, it was common for contractors to use lead solder and fixtures containing lead. Until 2014, brass faucets and fixtures labeled "lead-free” plumbing could contain up to 8 percent lead. If you feel this applies to your home, please read our customer tips for flushing your pipes.
Visit the Environmental Protection Agency for additional information on lead.