You received a water filter from Denver Water. Now what?

More than 100,000 water pitchers and filters are being delivered to older homes through the summer as part of the Lead Reduction Program.

April 8, 2020 | By: TAP Staff
A box on a porch from Denver Water that read "Help get the lead out."
Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program is distributing more than 100,000 water filters certified to remove lead from drinking water. The distribution has nothing to do with COVID-19. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

This is a Public Service Announcement: If you receive a water pitcher from Denver Water in the next few months, know that it has nothing to do with COVID-19.

The water the utility delivers to 1.5 million people in the Denver metro area is completely safe.

But some older homes in our community have or may have a lead service line, the customer-owned pipe that brings water into the home from the main in the street, or lead plumbing or fixtures in their homes.

Once again: The water Denver Water delivers to your home is lead-free and virus-free.

The Brita pitcher and Longlast water filter the utility is sending to more than 100,000 homes now through the summer are part of Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program.

The program also calls for Denver Water to replace the estimated 64,000 to 84,000 lead service lines that are in its service area — at no direct cost to the customer. But that will take 15 years.

A pipe laying in the street in front of a home.
Water service lines made of lead, like this one (above), were commonly used by builders and developers to connect homes and buildings to Denver’s water delivery system before 1951. It will take 15 years to remove all of them through the Lead Reduction Program. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

So, we’re sending the pitchers and filters certified to remove lead to these customers part of the program until we can verify, and ultimately remove the lead line at their property. They will also receive replacement filters until six months after the line is replaced, or until Denver Water confirms that the property doesn’t have a lead service line.

If you receive a filter, please carefully read the manufacturer’s information and instructions for use. This video can be used as a guide to walk you through the process:

If you haven’t received a filter yet, but are curious if you are part of the program, check out this interactive map and type in your address. In Denver Water’s experience, homes and buildings built prior to 1951 are more likely to have a lead service line.

In addition to replacing all lead service lines at no direct cost to the customer, Denver Water in March increased the pH of the water it delivers to reduce the risk of lead getting into drinking water.

Increasing the pH of the water from 7.8 to 8.8 on the pH scale will strengthen an existing protective coating inside of customers’ lead service lines and household plumbing and fixtures that contain lead. This coating forms a protective barrier between the water and the lead-containing metal, reducing the potential for lead from the metal to get into the water as it sits in a home’s pipes and plumbing.

While lead service lines are the primary source of lead in drinking water, there are other sources of lead.

Lead has been used for centuries in a wide range of things used by society, including gasoline, paint and water service lines.

Solder that contained lead was used in household plumbing to connect copper pipes until 1987. Also, household water fixtures and faucets manufactured before 2014 don’t meet today’s requirements for “lead free” fixtures.

Lead solder connected to copper pipes.
Until 1987, lead solder was commonly used to connect sections of copper water pipes inside homes and buildings. Photo credit: Denver Water.

 

The higher pH level in the water will protect all customers, whether they have a lead service line connecting their home to Denver Water, lead solder connecting their household pipes together, or a fixture or faucet that doesn’t meet today’s “lead-free” requirements.

Denver Water, along with experts at the state and federal level, has spent years studying the best way to reduce the risk of lead getting into drinking water.

And not even the COVID-19 coronavirus will stop Denver Water’s efforts.

When stay-at-home orders were issued in March at the local and state level, Denver Water adjusted the program to take advantage of opportunities those orders brought to light.

For more about the program visit, denverwater.org/Lead.

 

18 thoughts on “You received a water filter from Denver Water. Now what?”

  1. Thank you for this information. Will you be sending communications to the owner of record of the property? I highly recommend that be done because when property is occupied by tenants, the tenants might not inform the landlord and owner of the property. It is important that all notifications and consent forms be sent to the actual owner of record. Please confirm that you will be providing notifications that way. Thank you!

    1. Hi M.L.,
      Thanks for the question, it’s a good one. Yes, Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program is sending communications to property owners on record, if the owner has a different address than the actual property. That’s in addition to the information and water filters that are being sent to the actual property. In these situations, we want to make sure that both property owner and tenant is aware of the program and we can obtain the necessary consent forms.

    2. Hello! I think I am losing my mind- did you send us one or two filter cartridges? I swear there were 2. If so, I cannot find the 2nd.
      Help?
      Beth Ketel

      1. Hi Beth,
        One Longlast filter is included in the Brita pitcher package Denver Water sends to customers in the Lead Reduction Program. Each filter lasts about six months, and a replacement filter will be sent regularly. You can find out more about the filter program at denverwater.org/Lead.

  2. I already have a Brita pitcher and filters. Can I return my pitcher and filter to ensure it goes to someone who might need it?
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Aicha,

      Yes, you can return the filter quickly and easily. Simply write “Refuse” on the box so it can be seen, and leave it for the postal service to pick up or drop it off at the post office. The filter will be returned to shipper, at no cost to you, repackaged and sent to a different Denver Water customer.

      Also, please call our Customer Care team at 303-893-2444 to opt out of the filter distribution portion of Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program. This will ensure you do not receive replacement filters, which are being sent to customers every six months.

      Make sure that the filters you are using are certified to remove lead and don’t forget to use filtered water for drinking, cooking and preparing infant formula until six months after your lead service line is replaced.

    1. Hi Steve,
      One Longlast filter is included inside the Brita pitcher and filter package. If it’s not there, please call our Customer Care team at 303-893-2444, they can help you.

  3. The pitcher is awful. It’s a drab green and is enormously bulbous! It’s too tall for my refrigerator shelves and too large at the bottom for my refrigerator door…I mean, what were you thinking sending these massive things to people in apartments?

    1. Hi Renee,

      Thank you for the valuable feedback. During the launch and implementation of Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program, these pitcher filters are the only filter option we are able to provide at this time. As the program moves along we will continue to track feedback related to the filter usage so that we can adjust and make changes if necessary.

      If you decide another filter works better for your situation, make sure that the filters you select are certified to remove lead. Also, don’t forget to use filtered water for drinking, cooking and preparing infant formula until six months after your lead service line is replaced at no direct cost to customers enrolled in the Lead Reduction Program.

    1. Hi Morgan,
      Please call our Customer Care team at 303-893-2444. They can help you with your request.

  4. The indicator light on the pitcher I received says it’s using a standard filter, not a Longlast filter. As I understand it, the standard filters do not remove lead, but the Longlast ones do. Will Denver be sending out Longlast filters to residents??

    1. HI Rachel,
      Denver Water is providing Longlast filters along with the Brita water pitchers. You should have received a Longlast filter with your pitcher. There are instructions in Brita’s packaging and Denver Water also did a video (there’s a link to the video in the story above) that can help you prepare the pitcher for use, including how to make sure the filter and indicator light is activated properly.
      Here’s a link to the video: https://youtu.be/sMQu4fgHpPE

  5. Hi! If I previously had my water / lead levels tested by Denver Water, and the lead levels came back safe, I do not need to use the pitcher, correct?

    Thank you for this important work!

    1. Hi Karly,
      Thanks for reaching out with your question. Please call our Customer Care team at 303-893-2444 so they can double-check information about your water service line.

  6. I am live in one of the homes affect by this and am using the pitcher for drinking and cooking and already need a replacement filter. In the instructions it stated we would be receiving filters to replace. How do I request replacement filters?

    1. Hi there,
      Thanks for your question. With typical residential use, the average life expectancy of the Longlast filter sent by Denver Water is six months. Denver Water sends replacement filters to all customers enrolled in the program before the six-month period is over.

      If your filter indicator says it is time to replace your filter before you have received your replacement filter, please contact our Customer Care team at 303-893-2444 from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or email us at lead@denverwater.org. They will first help troubleshoot a bit as the light can also come on if the filter is not properly inserted into the pitcher.

      And thanks for using your filter to protect you and your family!

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