Providence Water that supplies water to several communities including Johnston has found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes and buildings, according to a press release.
Providence Water only maintains the public pipes, which are underneath streets and public buildings, and can’t test the pipes on private properties, spokesperson Dyana Koelsch said. However, during the company’s main rehabilitations project, she said, Providence Water found lead to be getting into water from those pipes. There are no detectable levels of lead in the water leaving the treatment plant in Scituate, but some of the service pipes in the communities they serve – including Cranston and Johnston – have been found to contain lead.
Homeowners can look at an interactive map on provwater.com/lead to find out if a home has public lead service lines on their street or in their neighborhoods. The maps, she said, will tell you whether there is lead in the pipes connected to your home’s pipes.
To deal with this issue, Providence Water first suggests flushing cold – not hot or mild – water through the faucet for at least three minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking. Koelsch said that running the water until it’s cold makes sure that the lead-contaminated water is flushed out.
Koelsch also said that Providence Water customers in Cranston, Providence, North Providence, Johnston, and East Smithfield can pick up a free lead test kit at the company’s customer service location at 125 Dupont Drive in Providence to test their water.
She also said that one the main reasons for lead being in pipes is the age of homes. Although Providence Water replaces the main lines that they oversee, they don’t have jurisdiction over the pipes on private properties. Koelsch said that Providence Water recently began giving out zero percent loans to homeowners in order to pay for pipe replacement. She said that when homeowners replace their pipes, the company would replace the street’s pipes at the same time.
Other information that Providence Water provides in its release includes:
l For families with babies and young children, formula and other meals should always be prepared with flushed cold water. Using hot water from the tap can cause trace lead amounts to leach from the home’s plumbing into the food source, even after a full flush.
l Families should also clean their home’s faucet aerators periodically. Lead from the home’s plumbing could accumulate undetected in the aerator screen and be in contact with water passing through, especially after any repair or replacement of lead-based plumbing or fixtures in the home.
The release warns of the health effects of lead poisoning, including damage to the brain and kidneys as well as interference with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body.