Lead & Copper in Drinking Water Report

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Ayer’s Water is Safe to Drink

Given all of the press regarding lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, the Ayer DPW would like to assure all of our customers that the Town’s drinking water meets all federal drinking water quality standards.  We test for hundreds of potential contaminants on a regular basis. Ayer tests for lead at customers faucets twice a year at more than 40 locations.

The water provided by the Town of Ayer is lead-free when it leaves the Water Treatment Plants.  However, lead can get into the drinking water through home service piping, lead solder used in plumbing, and some brass fixtures. Even though the use of lead solder was banned in the U.S. in 1986, it still might be present in older homes.

When lead is found in drinking water, it is typically due to leaching from internal plumbing materials. If the water is too corrosive, it can cause lead to leach out of the plumbing materials and enter the drinking water, particularly if water sits for a long time in the pipes before use.  Therefore, water that has been sitting in household pipes for several hours, such as in the morning, or after returning from work or school, is more likely to contain lead.

In Ayer, we add potassium hydroxide to our water to reduce the corrosiveness and minimize the leaching of lead.

Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Exposure To Lead In Your Water

Fresh water is better than stale:  If your water has been sitting for several hours, run the water until it is consistently cold - usually about 15-30 seconds – before drinking or cooking with it.  This flushes water which may contain lead from the pipes.

Use cold, fresh water for cooking and preparing baby formula:  Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap.  Lead dissolves more easily into hot water.  Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.

Do not boil water to remove lead.  Boiling water will not reduce lead.

Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead:  New brass faucets or other plumbing fixtures, including those labeled “lead-free”, may contribute lead to drinking water.  If you are concerned about lead in tap water, you should consider buying a low-lead or no-lead fixture.  Contact NSF (see below) to learn more about lead-free faucets.

Consider using a filter:  If your water contains lead, you may want to consider using a filter.  Make sure the filter you are considering removes lead – not all filters do.  Be sure to replace filters in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality.  Contact the National Sanitation Foundation at 1-800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for more information on water filters.  Also, if you are considering using bottled water, note that it may cost up to 1,000 times more than tap water.

Simply flushing your tap, as described above, is usually a cheaper, equally effective alternative.

For more information on the Town of Ayer Drinking water quality, please visit our website at http://www.ayer.ma.us/water-department or contact the DPW at 978-772-8240  or email to mwetzel@ayer.ma.us.