Jun 09, 2023
Lehigh County Authority seeks public's help completing survey to find out where lead and galvanized steel pipes are in Allentown
The Lehigh County Authority is seeking the assistance of Allentown customers as it tries to take inventory of all lead-based water service lines in the city. The LCA is developing a plan to replace
The Lehigh County Authority is seeking the assistance of Allentown customers as it tries to take inventory of all lead-based water service lines in the city.
The LCA is developing a plan to replace all lead service lines in Allentown, and has $5.9 million to pay for the replacement of 150 lead lines in the city. While the authority knows there are about 12,400 lead service lines throughout the city, there are about 9,000 water service lines that the LCA doesn’t know what material is used.
To solve this records issue, LCA is doing a customer survey. The survey and information on how to complete it can be found on LCA’s website. The LCA is also doing its own work to take inventory of these mystery lines when it visits customers’ homes for service issues and water main replacements.
It’s not just lead pipes LCA is interested in taking inventory of; it wants detailed records of all pipes. It also plans to replace galvanized steel pipes, which also can lead to heightened levels of lead in drinking water.
The water flowing through service lines in Lehigh County is not very acidic, so the chance of serious corrosion of lead pipes or lead solder is low. Instead, the Lehigh Valley’s water is hard, meaning there is a lot of dissolved calcium and magnesium. These two metals leave light-colored deposits in teapots and coffee makers and deposits also collect on the insides of pipes, further reducing the chances of lead leaching or corroding off lead pipes.
But corrosion of lead pipes can still occur, so Allentown residents who have lead service or galvanized steel lines in their homes should be careful and take some steps to protect themselves.
According to the LCA, rinsing out taps by running cold water is one way to ensure that lead isn’t getting into water used for drinking or cooking. Doing this properly involves letting cold water run for three to five minutes any time water has been sitting for more than six hours. A recommended time to do this rinsing is first thing in the morning.
Another protective step is regularly cleaning aerators, the detachable device at the tip of some faucets. For homes with lead pipes, LCA recommends cleaning aerators once a month with a brush and white vinegar and replacing aerators every year.
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