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Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and it can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to a/l parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered 10 in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother's bones, which may affect brain development.
To reduce exposure to lead in drinking water:
- Run your water to flush out lead. Run the water until it becomes cold.
- 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 in hot water.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead levels.
- Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. New faucets, fittings, and valves, may contain up to 8 percent lead including those advertised or labeled as "lead-free" and may contribute lead to drinking water. Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.
- Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. If your lead result is above 15 ppb, you may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-81010, or visit NSF Website NSF.
Although the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead- contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated soil, the U.S. EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from drinking water.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home and the health effects of lead, visit the U.S. EPA's Web site at EPA Website call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-LEAD, or contact your health care provider.