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HEALTH EFFECTS OF LEAD

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The District's treated water is lead-free when it leaves our treatment plant and Ute Water has never used lead service lines in our distribution system.  However, because of some of the unique properties of lead, such as its ductility and resistance to corrosion, lead was considered a good material for constructing water pipes prior to 1986.

 

In 1986, Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act and incorporated a ban on the use of lead in plumbing. The ban went into effect in June of 1986 nationwide and prohibited the installation of lead pipe and plumbing components. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, plumbing fixtures, and copper pipe when lead solder was used. Ute Water has never used lead service lines in our distribution system, but contractors may have used lead service lines or components in homes built prior to June of 1986.

 

Because new regulations often take time to implement, it is safe to assume your home does not have any lead service line components if it was built after 1988.

No. Ute Water samples your water for lead in accordance with all applicable state and federal and we do not have elevated lead levels in our drinking water.

For most contaminants, EPA sets an enforceable regulation called an (MCL) based on the MCLG (from above). MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as possible, considering cost, benefits, and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies. However, because lead contamination of drinking water often results from corrosion of the plumbing materials belonging to water system customers, EPA established a treatment technique rather than an MCL for lead.  

The treatment technique regulation for lead requires water systems to control the corrosivity of the water, which Ute Water does primarily through pH adjustment. The regulation also requires systems to collect tap samples from sites served by the system that are more likely to have plumbing materials containing lead.

If more than 10 percent of tap water samples exceed the lead action level of 15 micrograms per liter, then water systems are required to take additional actions including: 

  • Taking further steps to optimize their corrosion control treatment. 

  • Educating the public about lead in drinking water and actions consumers can take to reduce their exposure to lead. 

  • Replacing lead service lines if present. 

 

​Historically, Ute Water has not seen lead levels that exceed the action level of 15 micrograms per liter. In recent years, the District's compliance value for lead has been zero micrograms per liter, meaning at least 90% of all samples had no detectable lead.  

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More information about the District's drinking water can be found in our Annual Water Quality Report. 

Should I be concerned about lead levels in my water?

SPECIFIC HEALTH IMPACTS

CHILDREN

Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:

  • Behavior and learning problems

  • Lower IQ and hyperactivity

  • Slowed growth

  • Hearing problems

  • Anemia
     

In rare cases, ingestion of lead can cause seizures, coma and even death.

PREGNANT WOMEN

Lead can accumulate in our bodies over time, where it is stored in bones along with calcium. During pregnancy, lead is released from bones as maternal calcium and is used to help form the bones of the fetus. This is particularly true if a woman does not have enough dietary calcium.

 

Lead can also cross the placental barrier exposing the fetus to lead. This can result in serious effects to the mother and her developing fetus, including:

  • Reduced growth of the fetus

  • Premature birth
     

More information about lead's effects on pregnancy can be found here.​
 

Lead can also be transmitted through breast milk. More information can be found here.

ADULTS

Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from:
  • Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension

  • Decreased kidney function

  • Reproductive problems (in both men and women)

  • 26 ½ Road Waterline Improvement Project
    The District is upgrading 650 feet of waterline from 6-inch to 8-inch PVC on 26 1/2 Road between Central Drive and G 3/8 Road. During this project, a portion of 26 1/2 Road between Central Drive and G 3/8 Road will be closed to thru traffic. See the documents below for more details.
  • Oxbow Subdivision Waterline Replacement Project
    The District is planning to install 2,800 feet of 8-inch PVC pipe within the Oxbow Subdivision along Broken Spoke to F 1/2 Rd. The project will include new fire hydrants and water services. Traffic control will be utilized for this project.
  • 10 Road Waterline Improvement Project
    The District will be replacing 6,250 feet of existing 8-inch water lines along 10 Road from Q Road to R Road. This project will include new fire hydrants as well as service connections. The project will include a new fire hydrant. Traffic control will be utilized in this project.
  • Southside Transmission Main Replacement Project
    The District is planning to replace approximately 10,300 feet of 24-inch concrete pipe with 30-inch welded steel pipe from 36 ¾ Road and E Road to 38 Road and Horse Mountain Road.
  • F ½ Parkway Project Phase 2
    This project will be coordinated with the City of Grand Junction and will establish domestic water and fire line infrastructure for a new traffic corridor along F ½ Road, from 24 ½ Road to 25 Road. The District will be installing 2,100 feet of 8-inch and 3,550 feet of 12-inch PVC pipe and installing new fire hydrants.
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