Old lead pipes could spell trouble for Salt Lake City residents. | Urban Living

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Old lead pipes could spell trouble for Salt Lake City residents.

Urban Living

Posted By on June 12, 2024, 4:00 AM

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Two weeks ago, the city of Atlanta, Georgia, had no water for several days and people are still being told to boil water in some neighborhoods. More than 1.2 million customers are served with culinary water from the Chattahoochee River, but their water pipes are nearly 100 years old, corroded and decayed.

The photos of urban geysers around the city are astounding. Their water department says that there are normally 30 water main breaks each month, far less than we see in Utah's larger cities.

The Environmental Protection Agency has new rules for lead and copper pipes, and is requiring water systems around the U.S. to document all water service pipe material within their districts. In 1991, the EPA published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water and it keeps updating the data and requirements for reporting. This is super important, because older pipes are often made of lead and/or copper, and extended exposure to those elements may cause health problems ranging from stomach distress to brain damage.

Salt Lake City's Department of Public Utilities has sent out a notice to homeowners to take a survey about their pipes in their own homes, to find out what they are made of. SLCDPU is responsible for the water main to the water meter at your home, and residents are responsible for the water line from the meter to their house.

Our government wants to know if you have replaced your service line and, if so, with what type of material. Lead has been prohibited in plumbing materials since 1986, but that doesn't mean lead pipes aren't still in the ground running water to your home.

We got a random request to fill out a survey about our pipes. But not being plumbers, we're not sure what's what, so we are being offered a complimentary water sample and home inspection from SLCDPU this week.

Would I have to immediately yank out all our pipes if they are lead or copper? I'm hoping not, but then again, I don't want lead in my water! Anyone can fill out the survey and also get a free home visit to figure out what's going on with your pipes. The team at SLCDPU wants folks to know that our water is safe and is regularly tested for lead and other harmful contaminants in the distribution system. To take the survey, go to www.slcleadandcopper.com or call 844-532-3752 for more information.

More than 60% of drinking water available on the Wasatch Front begins in our mountain streams in our canyons. In the summer, the flow is supplemented with deep wells throughout the valleys and although we had another great snow year in the northern part of the state, we're still experiencing drought conditions.

As of March 2024, about 31% of the state is still experiencing abnormally dry conditions. Plus, much of the water system matrix around the state is quite aged and lines in Logan and Odgen are under repair now, so who knows when the next break will be upon us in Utah.

About The Author

Babs De Lay

Babs De Lay

A full-time broker/owner of Urban Utah Homes and Estates, Babs De Lay serves on the Salt Lake City Historic Landmark Commission. A writer and golfer, you'll find them working as a staff guardian at the Temple at Burning Man each year.

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