In March, Denver Water is kicking off its Lead Reduction Program, which was approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in December 2019.
The water Denver Water delivers to customers is lead-free. But lead can get into drinking water as it passes through customer-owned water service lines and indoor plumbing that contain lead. Water service lines are the smaller pipes that bring ater from Denver Water’s main delivery pipes in the street into homes and buildings.
“Delivering safe drinking water is Denver Water’s most important responsibility,” said Denver Water CEO/Manager Jim Lochhead. “Nothing is more important than protecting the health of our customers, especially children.”
Lochhead said the program is an unprecedented undertaking for the U.S. water sector and puts Denver Water at the forefront of protecting public health.
“No other utility in the nation is taking this proactive and voluntary approach. We are literally setting a higher standard for the industry,” he said.
The Lead Reduction Program will protect the health of the community by:
- Raising the pH of the water delivered to 1.4 million people in its service area, from the previous target of 7.8 on the pH scale to a target of 8.8. This change is taking place during the first week in March. The pH increase will strengthen an existing protective coating inside pipes. It won’t affect the water’s taste or smell.
Adjusting the pH of the water is a proven technique used by many water utilities to protect customers from the likelihood of lead or other metals getting into drinking water. Denver Water has adjusted the pH of its drinking water since the mid-1990s. Learn more at denverwater.org/pH.
- Replacing the estimated 64,000 to 84,000 customer-owned lead service lines in Denver Water’s service area with copper lines. This work, done at no direct charge to the customer, will take 15 years to complete. In Denver Water’s experience, homes built before 1951 are most likely to have lead service lines.
- Providing water filters certified to remove lead to customers who have or may have a lead service line. Replacement filters will be sent regularly, and the pitchers and filtered water should be used for drinking, cooking and preparing beverages such as infant formula until six months after the lead service line is replaced.
To learn more about Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program, visit denverwater.org/Lead