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LEAD AND COPPER RULE

The Metropolitan Commission (MetCom) is committed to providing safe drinking water to our customers, and that means being proactive in adhering to the requirements of the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR).  At MetCom, we have a long history of proactively protecting our customers from lead.  Because of this, the drinking water we produce for our 28 water systems is well below the maximum lead levels set forth by the EPA. 

To maintain excellent water quality, MetCom is implementing a “Get The Lead Out” program to educate you on the LCRR, how lead exposure can affect your health, and how you can reduce lead exposure at home. 

 

So, take time today to learn more about lead, how MetCom is taking action, and how you can help protect your family. 

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EPA Lead and Copper Rule Background Information

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lead and Copper Rule was revised with the intent of providing greater protection of public health by reducing human exposure to lead and copper in drinking water. Exposure to lead in drinking water can result in a myriad of adverse health effects, especially in infants and children.

The Lead and Copper Rule has undergone various revisions since its inception in 1991. The most recent revisions set forth in 2021 mandate that all water utilities plan to test for lead more frequently at schools and childcare, develop an inventory of the water service lines within their system, and create a plan to replace lead service lines if they are found.

In addition, the revisions (LCRR) require all community water systems to develop an inventory to identify the material(s) of service lines connected to the public water distribution system. Both

the publicly owned and the privately owned sides of the service lines must be included in the inventory. All service lines, regardless of the usage of the water and activity status, must be identified.

MetCom has a longstanding history of keeping the drinking water we produce

well below the maximum lead levels set forth by the EPA. We publish the

results of our water quality testing in Consumer Confidence Reports on our

website or scan QR code (at right).

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  • Where can I find more information about Lead?
    You can find more information about lead from the St. Mary’s County Health Department and Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://smchd.org/lead/
  • How can I be exposed to lead?
    Lead is a material that occurs naturally and has many uses in residential and industrial settings. Therefore, there is a risk that we may be exposed to it at work or at home. Previously, lead was thought of as a good material for water pipes due to its soft nature and flexibility. Because of this historical practice, some homes may have water service lines, plumbing, kitchen fixtures, or bathroom fixtures that contain lead. The service line is the pipe that runs from the water main to the home’s internal plumbing. Lead service lines can be a major source of lead contamination in water. Other potential sources of lead include galvanized iron pipes (lead particles can attach to the surface of galvanized pipes. Over time, the particles can enter your drinking water, causing elevated lead levels), lead goose necks and pigtails which are shorter pipes that connect the service line to the main, lead-based paint, dust, jewelry, and some plastics. L Line: The The illustration below contains more information on these potential lead sources and where these sources may be located in your home and plumbing system.
  • How can lead exposure affect my health?
    Anyone can experience adverse health effects from lead exposure, but infants and children are at the greatest risk. Potential health impacts to infants and children include decreases in IQ and attention span, as well as the development or worsening of learning and behavioral problems. Those that are exposed as children may also face problems with decreased bone and tissue growth, as well as anemia. The children of women who have been exposed to lead before or during pregnancy can experience these same health effects. While adults are less at risk for adverse health effects than children, lead exposure may still be harmful. Adults that are exposed to lead can have increased risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and nervous system or kidney disorders. Lead exposure in adults has also been linked to dysfunction in the digestive and reproductive systems.
  • How can I reduce my lead exposure at home?
    Check your plumbing. Verify that all faucets and fixtures in your home are lead-free. Clean out your faucet’s screens (aerators) regularly. Know your service line material. Use only cold water for drinking, cooking, making baby formula and preparing food. Only use cold tap water for drinking and preparing food. Use only cold water for Boiling water does not remove lead from water. Hot water is more likely to contain lead than cold water if your home’s plumbing contains lead. Consider using a water filter. Certified to remove lead and know when it’s time to replace the filter. Flush your taps. Run the water from infrequently used taps for at least 5 minutes prior to cooking with it or drinking it. Before drinking, flush your pipes by running your tap, taking a shower, watering plants, doing laundry or a load of dishes. Replace your service lines and interior plumbing. MetCom strongly encourages residents to identify and replace any lead pipes or plumbing materials serving their home, especially lead service lines. Help us update our records. If a customer initiates replacement of their private lead service line, MetCom requests that you notify us immediately at lead.and.copper@metcom.org so that our inventory can be updated. If you are concerned about your family’s risk of being exposed to lead, the EPA recommends using a pitcher filter or point-of-contact water filter certified by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certified to reduce lead and getting your tap water tested for lead. A list of Maryland certified drinking water laboratories is located here. You can also get your water tested for lead by the Metropolitan Commission by contacting Customer Service at (703) 737-7400 ext. (102). Test kits cost $45 for the first kit and may be less for every following kit should you wish to perform any additional sampling. Once your order is processed, you will receive a test kit with instructions for how to take the water sample and return it to MetCom for testing.

MetCom’s “Get The Lead Out” program will address these requirements and help keep our community safe from lead in drinking water. 

Health Effects of Lead in Drinking Water

If you are concerned about your family’s risk of being exposed to lead, the EPA recommends using a pitcher filter or point-of-contact water filter certified by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certified to reduce lead and getting your tap water tested for lead. A list of certified drinking water laboratories is located here.  You can also get your water tested for lead by the Metropolitan Commission by contacting Customer Service at (703) 737-7400 extension (102). Test kits cost $45 for the first kit and may be less for every following kit should you wish to perform any additional sampling. Once your order is processed, you will receive a test kit with instructions for how to take the water sample and return it to MetCom for testing.

  • Where can I find more information about Lead?
    You can find more information about lead from the St. Mary’s County Health Department and Center for Disease Control and Prevention at https://smchd.org/lead/
  • How can I be exposed to lead?
    Lead is a material that occurs naturally and has many uses in residential and industrial settings. Therefore, there is a risk that we may be exposed to it at work or at home. Previously, lead was thought of as a good material for water pipes due to its soft nature and flexibility. Because of this historical practice, some homes may have water service lines, plumbing, kitchen fixtures, or bathroom fixtures that contain lead. The service line is the pipe that runs from the water main to the home’s internal plumbing. Lead service lines can be a major source of lead contamination in water. Other potential sources of lead include galvanized iron pipes (lead particles can attach to the surface of galvanized pipes. Over time, the particles can enter your drinking water, causing elevated lead levels), lead goose necks and pigtails which are shorter pipes that connect the service line to the main, lead-based paint, dust, jewelry, and some plastics. L Line: The The illustration below contains more information on these potential lead sources and where these sources may be located in your home and plumbing system.
  • How can lead exposure affect my health?
    Anyone can experience adverse health effects from lead exposure, but infants and children are at the greatest risk. Potential health impacts to infants and children include decreases in IQ and attention span, as well as the development or worsening of learning and behavioral problems. Those that are exposed as children may also face problems with decreased bone and tissue growth, as well as anemia. The children of women who have been exposed to lead before or during pregnancy can experience these same health effects. While adults are less at risk for adverse health effects than children, lead exposure may still be harmful. Adults that are exposed to lead can have increased risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, and nervous system or kidney disorders. Lead exposure in adults has also been linked to dysfunction in the digestive and reproductive systems.
  • How can I reduce my lead exposure at home?
    Check your plumbing. Verify that all faucets and fixtures in your home are lead-free. Clean out your faucet’s screens (aerators) regularly. Know your service line material. Use only cold water for drinking, cooking, making baby formula and preparing food. Only use cold tap water for drinking and preparing food. Use only cold water for Boiling water does not remove lead from water. Hot water is more likely to contain lead than cold water if your home’s plumbing contains lead. Consider using a water filter. Certified to remove lead and know when it’s time to replace the filter. Flush your taps. Run the water from infrequently used taps for at least 5 minutes prior to cooking with it or drinking it. Before drinking, flush your pipes by running your tap, taking a shower, watering plants, doing laundry or a load of dishes. Replace your service lines and interior plumbing. MetCom strongly encourages residents to identify and replace any lead pipes or plumbing materials serving their home, especially lead service lines. Help us update our records. If a customer initiates replacement of their private lead service line, MetCom requests that you notify us immediately at lead.and.copper@metcom.org so that our inventory can be updated. If you are concerned about your family’s risk of being exposed to lead, the EPA recommends using a pitcher filter or point-of-contact water filter certified by an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certified to reduce lead and getting your tap water tested for lead. A list of Maryland certified drinking water laboratories is located here. You can also get your water tested for lead by the Metropolitan Commission by contacting Customer Service at (703) 737-7400 ext. (102). Test kits cost $45 for the first kit and may be less for every following kit should you wish to perform any additional sampling. Once your order is processed, you will receive a test kit with instructions for how to take the water sample and return it to MetCom for testing.

We are here to help! Contact us today at lead.and.copper@metcom.org if you have questions on this important topic.

Feel free to also contact the Maryland Department of the Environment Water Supply Program at 410-537-3729 or via email at water.supply@maryland.gov if you have any questions.

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