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Lead and copper can be found naturally in water reservoirs throughout Texas, but at extremely low levels. In fact, levels of lead and copper in reservoirs are so low that they are not a health concern. However, if water is not properly treated to minimize its corrosive tendencies, the water delivered to customers can dissolve lead or copper found in customer-owned plumbing. Prior to 1986, lead was a common component of building plumbing. In 1986, Congress amended the Safe Drinking Water Act (originally adopted in 1974) to prohibit the use of pipes, solder or flux that are not “lead free” in drinking water distribution systems. Lead free is defined as no more than 0.2% lead in flux or solder, and no more than 8% lead in pipes. In 2014, Congress further reduced allowable lead content from 8% to 0.25% in pipes and fittings.
Water, by its very nature, is corrosive to most metals over time. Corrosive is just another term to describe the ability of water to dissolve lead or copper in a customer’s plumbing into the drinking water. A water treatment facility can minimize water’s corrosive tendencies by adjusting the pH (acidity) of the water, monitoring the amount of dissolved minerals in the water which may inhibit corrosion, and by adding other chemicals, such as phosphates, to protect the water pipes. Because Southlake purchases its treated drinking water from the City of Fort Worth, the City of Southlake advises the City of Fort Worth on the quality of the water which we receive in order to ensure the utmost quality for our customers.
Lead can pose significant health risks if too much of it enters your body. Lead builds up in the body over many years and can cause damage to the brain, red blood cells, and kidneys. The greatest risk is to young children and pregnant women. Amounts of lead that will not harm adults can slow the mental and physical development of growing bodies.
Southlake collects and tests 30 routine samples once every year for lead and copper as required by the TCEQ. Southlake then follows chain of custody protocol to deliver the samples to an approved, accredited testing laboratory.
Following the U.S. EPA protocol of attempting to determine the worst case scenario for lead or copper testing, the plumbing of Southlake customer’s homes was researched through plumbing permits and building records of homes to identify lead and copper used in building materials. Selecting homes with this criteria allows Southlake to sample for the worst case scenario.
All the lead and copper testing results are reported in Southlake’s annual Drinking Water Quality Report (Consumer Confidence Report). The Drinking Water Quality Report for the most recent full year is available on the City’s website. A comprehensive list of the results can be found on the City’s Lead and Copper Sampling Program page.
Since the start of the testing program in 2007, Southlake’s lead and copper testing has consistently shown levels of these metals to be well below the Action Level (“AL”) set by U.S. EPA. For a table of results, please visit the City of Southlake's Lead and Copper Sampling Program page.