The City of St. Louis Water Division has optimized its treatment process so that the corrosion of internal plumbing is highly unlikely. This treatment prevents The City of Saint Louis from experiencing a lead crisis that has been seen in other American cities. However, if present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems.
Exposure to lead in drinking water can cause serious health effects in all age groups. Infants and children can have decreases in IQ and attention span. Lead exposure can lead to new learning and behavior problems or exacerbate existing learning and behavior problems. The children of women who are exposed to lead before or during pregnancy can have increased risk of these adverse health effects. Adults can have increased risks of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney or nervous system problems.
Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with water service lines and home plumbing. While there are no lead water mains, the City Water Divison cannot control the variety of materials that property owners use in plumbing components. There are three major ways lead can get into water:
When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (Phone: 800-426-4791) or at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
The City of Saint Louis’ water supply is carefully monitored to make sure that residents are protected from lead that could be found in drinking water. The Water Division is required by law to routinely test drinking water from homes with lead service lines to ensure that corrosion control treatment strategy is effectively working.
The Water Division is responsible for the treatment and distribution of safe drinking water within our network of underground water mains. Once the water flows from the water main in the street to our customers’ service connections, it’s safe delivery becomes the customer’s responsibility. As the service line is owned and maintained by the property owner, it is their responsibility to repair faulty plumbing that connects the water mains to the home as well as the plumbing inside the home.
There are homes in the City of Saint Louis that may have a water service line (the pipe running from the water main to the home) that is made of lead. Inferior plumbing and fixtures inside the home may also contain lead. Replacing an older brass faucet or valve may be a simple way to reduce the lead.
The following Diagram illustrates a typical water service from water main to home:
To find out if your water service line is made of lead, follow these steps or use the How-To Identify Your Service Line Material Guide (PDF): How-To Identify Your Water Service Line Material.pdf
Having a lead service line does not mean your home’s water has high levels of lead. Corrosion control treatment, performed in The City of Saint Louis for more than 20 years, has been shown to be effective in keeping lead levels in customers' homes below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standard of fifteen parts per billion (15ppb).
In addition to replacing lead pipes and plumbing, there are immediate steps you can take to reduce the chances of lead exposure related to water use, such as flushing your tap when using it for drinking or cooking if your water has been sitting idle for several hours.
The Water Division conducts regular sampling and testing of lead service lines. To volunteer for our lead sampling and testing program, please email email@example.com
The Water Division is currently updating inventory records of all service lines. If you would like to report your service line material type, please follow this How-To Guide to help determine if you have a lead service line. To report your service line material type, please click HERE. Additionally, you may email a photo of your service line to LCRphotos@stlwater.com. Please include your name, address, and a phone number you can be reached at.
The drinking water in The City of Saint Louis meets or exceeds state and federal water quality standards. Our water quality data can be found in our annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR). To view our CCR, please visit The Water Division’s drinking water quality page.