Reducing High Levels of Lead in Water - WBAY

Reducing High Levels of Lead in Water

Green Bay Water Utility found excess levels of lead in water flowing from the tap of about 6% of Green Bay homes.

For small children and pregnant women lead can pose serious health risks, so the Water Utility has been working to find a solution.

Patrick Reed's house was built at the turn of the last century. "The grand opening was January 1st, 1900," says Reed.

Like many homes its age, filled with history, character, beauty and, "Most these homes got lead paint, too," says Reed.

Some have lead pipes, according to Green Bay Water Utility's general manager, Nancy Quirk.

"These are a couple of the lead services that we've taken out of the ground that we're looking into and testing," says Quirk.

Testing in 2011 revealed water lead levels above the EPA limit in 1,900 homes in downtown Green Bay. Since then Green Bay Water Utility has been working toward a solution.

"We found out that the majority of our lead content was coming from particulate lead breaking off of the mains and coming into the homes," says Quirk.

Eventually all lead pipes will be replaced with plastic or copper, but until then, "One of the things we're trying to do right now to try and mitigate this lead problem is by doing uni-directional flushing," says Quirk.

They are flushing all 440 miles of pipe city-wide.

They're also asking homeowners in homes built before the 1980s to run water for 1-2 minutes if it hasn't been used in 6 hours or more.

It's a tip Reed has been using for years. He says he feels confident that his water is safe.

"Cheers," he says as he takes a drink.

For more tips on avoiding lead in your home click here:

To find out if your home is serviced by lead water pipes, or if you want to test your water for lead contact the Green Bay Water Utility:

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Telephone: 920.432.3331
Fax: 920.438.3355

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