South Elizabethton Utility addressing lead violation

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Customers throughout the South Elizabethton Utility District were presented with a letter Friday in regards to a lead water violation and steps are being made to address the issue, according to District Manager Kevin Lenden.
Lenden provided the Elizabethton Star with numbers Tuesday from the sample of homes that took place in June. Information indicated 20 homes were sampled with 11 showing a non-detect of lead while six homes had detection below the regulated number (0.015) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while three homes were above the regulated limit, which is a violation by the state.
“The three put us in violation,” Lenden said. “We had 11 come back as non-detects, which is the highest I’ve seen.”
The manager added that the department, EPA, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and TN Division of Water Resources are working together to address the issue for the next round of testing.
Lenden added that while it’s an issue, there is no cause for alarm due to measures individuals can take at their home.
According to the EPA, homes built before 1986 are “more likely to contain these materials” while newer homes can also be at risk. Before January 4, 2014, the amount of lead allowed in pipes had been reduced to 0.25 percent.
As the investigation is underway, Lenden added there are steps individuals can take to reduce lead.
“Run your water to flush out the lead,” he said. “I’d encourage people to run water 15 to 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it to drink or cook. Doing that helps get the lead that could set up in the pipe.”
The issue of faucets installed prior to 2014 could cause lead to set up within the item. Allowing the water to run can help unlodge any residue, or individuals can change their faucets.
Other tips individuals can use if there is a fear of lead includes:
• Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula
• Do not boil water to remove lead
• Look for alternative drinking water sources
• Identify plumbing fixtures that contain lead
• Get your children tested
Lenden added the department is there to help. No lead pipes are used within the district and the size of non-detects show work is being made at water treatment plants, the manager said, but the investigation will look at how to nullify the issue for other homes.
Residents within the district can call (423) 542-8588 to have their water tested for lead.

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