Make Sure Your Tampa Bay Drinking Water is Safe

The lead contamination of Flint, Michigan’s water supply a couple of years ago put the spotlight on the importance of clean, healthy water everywhere, including Tampa Bay. As a matter of fact, State Sen. Janet Cruz of Tampa is co-sponsoring a bill to filter lead out of the water of more than 4,000 public schools in Florida. A link to that information is here.

Lead in drinking water is a serious health issue

When there is lead found in a Tampa Bay home it most often leaches into the water over time through corrosion. This is from a dissolving or wearing of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your home’s plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, fixtures, faucets (brass) and fittings. The amount of lead in your water depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the water’s alkalinity, corrosivity, pH and water temperature.

Why lead is a health issue

Lead can be extremely harmful. It can impact normal physical and mental development in babies and young children. Lead can cause deficits in the attention span, hearing, and learning abilities of children. Lead can increase blood pressure in adults.

Adults and children are exposed to lead from various sources, such as paint, gasoline, solder and consumer products. Exposure can occur through different pathways, such as air, food, water, dust and soil. Although there are several exposure sources, lead in the water supply is a common source.

If you have a lead service line, lead plumbing pipes, lead solder on copper pipes or brass fixtures, lead may leach into water you drink. Infants raised on mixed baby formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure from drinking water.

Is my water in Tampa Bay at risk for lead contamination?

Do you know how to make sure the Tampa Bay water coming out of your home’s tap is safe to drink? It doesn’t matter whether the water that comes out of your tap comes from a well on your property or from the Tampa Bay Water public system, putting your water to the test is the only way to truly make sure it is healthy to drink.

You can find a copy of the the Tampa Bay Water Consumer Confidence Report – here. This report is conducted on a regular basis, but the Tampa Bay Water quality report is simply a snap shot in time. The quality of the water can change in a second. The only way to really know the quality of the water coming out of your faucet is by testing it. The fastest and easiest way to do this is to call Cass Plumbing of Tampa Bay at (813) 265-9200. We will send a representative right out to test your water and provide you with cost effective solutions to provide you with clean drinking water for you and your family.

While public Tampa Bay Water system does their own testing as part of the required public monitoring procedures, water quality can vary from home to home. Testing your water is especially important if your home has lead pipes or your non-plastic plumbing that was installed in the Tampa Bay area prior to 1986. Without testing, there is really no way to see, taste or smell lead dissolved in water.

Safe levels of lead in the water should be below 15 parts per billion. If you have well water, it is important to test that water when the well is new and on an annual ongoing basis. It is extremely important to test the water if there is a pregnant woman or an infant living in the home.

If you want to conduct your own home test and do it on your own, it is important to:

  • Follow the testing directions carefully
  • Use “first draw water” in the testing, which is the very first water coming out of your faucet after sitting overnight
  • Send the water sample to a Florida state-certified laboratory. You can find a certified lab here.

How to Reduce Your Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water

  • Some faucet and pitcher filters can remove lead from drinking water. If you use one, be sure to get one that is certified by National Sanitation Foundation International to remove lead.
  • Clean your faucet’s screen where minerals can build up.
  • Run your tap before drinking for 15 to 30 seconds especially if it hasn’t been used for more than six hours.
  • Have children or the elderly in the home tested for lead exposure in their blood.
  • Cook with cold water. Lead is likely to be highest in hot water.
  • Use cold water to mix with baby formula.

If there is lead in your water, you may need to replace plumbing fixtures, the pipes or install a whole home water filtration system in your home. The experts at Cass Plumbing of Tampa Bay can help you with pipe replacement or whole house re-piping.