Water service lines. (City of Fort Worth)

Five years ago, Fort Worth decided to locate and then remove all city-owned lead service lines. The reason is to protect the health of customers.

The in-house inventory project is 86% complete. So far, the utility has found 1,182 lead services lines on the city side of the meter, and 10 on the customer side of the meter. It also found another 649 lead service lines though field maintenance work.

As of March 31, the utility had replaced 1,444 of the city-owned lead service lines. The goal is to replace all the city-owned lead service lines by the end of 2021.

The service line is the piping that connects the home or business to the water main. The city and the property owner share ownership of the service line.

The city owns the portion from the main to the water meter, including the water meter. The property owner is responsible for the portion from the meter to the point it enters the home or business, as well as all the plumbing in the home or building.

Eliminating lead service lines may not eliminate lead in drinking water. The plumbing materials used in the home or business could contain lead, such as solder, pipes, faucets (brass) and fittings.

Lead dissolves into water over time through corrosion – a dissolving or wearing of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and plumbing materials. Fort Worth adjusts the water’s pH to control this reaction.

When your water has been sitting for several hours, run your faucet for 30 seconds to two minutes before using the water for drinking or cooking.

If you are concerned about lead in your water, you can have it tested. The test is free for Fort Worth customers with known lead service lines. If you do not have a known lead service line, the cost is $15 per water sample. Email the utility or call 817-392-4477 to make arrangements.

Lead in drinking water

Fort Worth Water cares about the health of our customers and their families. For that reason, we want to be open about issues and facts surrounding lead in drinking water, especially Fort Worth’s drinking water.

Lead is rarely found naturally in our source water or in the treated water flowing through the distribution system. More commonly, lead dissolves into water over time through corrosion – a dissolving or wearing of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and plumbing materials. Lead can leach into water from service line pipes, solder, fixtures, faucets (brass) and fittings. The amount of lead in your water depends on several factors, including:

  • the types and amounts of minerals in the water, 
  • the water’s acidity or alkalinity,
  • the amount of lead in pipes and plumbing, 
  • how long the water stays in the pipes, 
  • the presence of protective scales or coatings, and
  • water temperature.

Why lead is a health issue

Lead can be 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-based paint is the most widespread and dangerous high-dose source of lead exposure for young children.

If you have a lead service line, lead private plumbing pipes, lead solder on copper pipes or brass fixtures, lead may leach into water you drink. EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of lead exposure in young children may come from drinking water. Infants raised on mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure from drinking water.

A press release comes straight from a news source. It is not held to the same standards as a news story reported and written by a professional reporter, but it should be factual. The Fort Worth Report...

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