The existing Water Filtration Plant was built in 1957, and since that time the Holland Board of Public Works has met all federal and state drinking water regulation without exception every year. HBPW takes very seriously its obligation to protect customers and families from lead in the drinking water. Every 3 years, HBPW tests many homes throughout the distribution system, focusing specifically on the higher-risk homes.
Holland BPW is committed to providing customers with the information and resources they need with regards to lead in drinking water. We have a list of frequently asked questions below, if these resources do not help answer your concerns about lead, contact information is provided afterwards.
Where can lead in the water come from?
The main source of lead in drinking water is from corrosion of household and building plumbing. Lead can leach into the water from pipes, solder, fixtures and brass faucets and fittings. The level of lead in the water distribution system (pipes under the streets) is so low it cannot be detected using standard testing techniques.
Are there regulations set in place for monitoring water?
Yes! Holland BPW has conducted all required monitoring and sampling since the Lead and Copper Rule was promulgated. Sampling results over the past 20 plus years have met the standard and never exceeded levels requiring any action. (Conclusion: HBPW water coming from Lake Michigan has low corrosive properties.) Results of the sampling are reported to all customers each year in the annual water quality report.
I am still worried about lead. Is there a way I can reduce potential lead exposure?
While we are confident the water we are providing you is safe, we do have some tips for reducing lead exposure.
- Flush your pipes before drinking. The longer water sits in your home's pipes, the more lead the water may contain. Anytime a faucet used for drinking or food prep has not been used for six hours or longer, you should run the water through (“flush”) the tap. To do this flushing, turn on the cold water and let it run until it is as cold as possible. This should not take long (5-30 seconds) if there has been routine daily water use. If there has not been recent daily water use, it could take two minutes or longer.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water does not remove lead.
- Clean your faucet aerator. The aerator on the end of your faucet is a screen that will catch debris. This debris could include particles of lead. The aerator should be removed at least monthly to rinse out any debris.
- Consider replacing your kitchen and bathroom sink faucets. Most existing homes have leaded brass faucets unless they have been replaced since 2013. Any new connecting plumbing and fittings should also meet the 2014 lead-free definition. If you replace your faucet, buy a new one with pieces that meet the 2014 lead-free definition. These should be certified as lead-free by an independent testing agency. Learn more from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Publication Center at 800-490-9198 and ask for the document entitled How to Identify Lead-Free Certification Marks for Drinking Water System & Plumbing Materials (number 600F13153).
- Deep flush your cold water pipes after long periods of non-use. If you are moving into a new home or apartment, or moving back to a place of residence that has been unoccupied for some time, you should run all faucets an extended period of five minutes or more before using any water for drinking or cooking.
I've been told I have a lead gooseneck with a galvanized pipe. What does that mean?
A lead gooseneck is a fitting approximately 18 inches in length that connects from the water main to a galvanized pipe service line. Lead pipes could be easily bent and allowed for a flexible connection between rigid pipes. While these do not make up the vast majority of our connections, we do still have them in our system. The most recent (2016) sampling did not detect any level of lead in homes serviced by a lead gooseneck.
For more information on lead awareness, please feel free to contact HBPW at 616.355.1500 or see the links below.