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Lead in Drinking Water Australia

Lead in drinking water can be the cause for many health concerns, avoiding it is important in Australian homes. Read this guide to find out how.

Having anything in your water is typically not great. Any lead within your pipes or tank water needs to be treated as an emergency, and an expert plumber should be contacted immediately. Have your water tested to gauge the lead levels and water quality.

Lead is an element whose symbol is Pb (derived from the Latin word, Plumbum). Its atomic number is 82 in the periodic table. It is a dense metal, which is heavier than many usual substances.

Exposure to lead may significantly affect health, especially in children and pregnant women. When its exposure becomes high, it may even attack the brain and the nervous system, causing coma, seizures, and potentially death.

Lead Copper Pipes

Lead is found in our environment, soil, air, water, and even our homes. It is also found in the tap water we drink.

It enters the drinking water once the plumbing substances, which comprise lead corrosion, specifically in the regions where water’s acidity is high, and water’s mineral content is low, eroding the pipes and plumbing system.

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Within the homes that have lead pipes, they connect the water main to the house, called the service line of lead. Also, these ducts are generally a crucial place of origin of lead inside the water.

In all probability, lead pipes are found in the oldest cities and houses established before 1986. In homes where there is no lead service line, the issue faced is the aluminium or chrome-plated aluminium valves and plumbing with an alloy of lead.

Australia has pretty strict laws and regulations around safe drinking water standards, and our standards suggest no more than .01 mg L-1, which is in line with international standards.

Lead in drinking water

Lead pollutants exposure in drinking water can be minimised.

The fundamental way of getting lead toxic in drinking water is just not the oldest pollutants of the water by fuels, used batteries, or even some dangerous debris, the fundamental way is the dispersal procedure utilised to provide water to your house, and most essentially, the plumbing system in your home.

The plumbing in your house is one of the main ways of lead exposure in the water you drink.

Be mindful that if you have pets, they are also exposed to the lead in their drinking water.

As stated earlier, in the oldest houses, lead was utilised to build the piping and alloy. In homes built before 1930, the pipes were composed of lead.

In buildings constructed between 1930 and 1980, copper wire was typically used; however, the alloy held upright to the lead levels.

Then, between 1950 and 1960, stimulated water lines were used in the new house establishments.

Presently, that kind of piping has not been widely used, yet it is usually utilised with the applications of healthy water.

Once the pipe erodes, the insides of the pipes get rusty. Additionally, when it happens, the water is then changed into discoloured and irregular water that tends to be yellowish, brown, or reddish.

This does not suggest that the latest homes are secure from lead pollutants; the accessible information shows that the buildings built around five years ago may also have a higher degree of lead.

Buildings that were established before 1986 may comprise a few lead plumbing.

The steps to avoid lead in drinking water

Lead Piping Examples

These easy points assist in avoiding the prospect of contact to lead from the household’s plumbing.

1. Keep water running to rinse the lead out

If the water is not being used for a long time, keep the water tap on for around 30 seconds to 3 minutes or until it gets cold before drinking or using it for cooking.

Doing this, the lead stuck in the pipes gets rinsed out. Additionally, this may also cut down the lead content present in the water level up to 90%.

2. Make sure to utilise fresh and cool water in cooking and for preparing formula

Never use cold water for cooking or drinking from the tap that pours hot water; lead solutes more rapidly in hot water than cold water.

Therefore, do not use hot water from the tap to make a formula for the baby. Also, never boil water to remove the lead.

3. Use a filter to stay safe

Not every water filter reduces the lead; therefore, before purchasing, make sure the one you buy does, have your water filter installed professionally. Ensure to maintain and change the filter device according to the manufacturer’s instructions to secure water quality.

4. Clean the tap inflater regularly

The tiny substances that contain lead from alloy or even plumbing and drainage system may become confined in the tap inflater. Cleaning it now and then will cut down the substances and remove your contact to lead.

5. Opt for purchasing low-lead installations

In 2014, every pipe, installation, and fittings were needed to comprise less than 0.25% lead.

If you are looking to purchase new installations, you must look out for those containing the lowest amount of lead.

To check the lead-free items and purchase them for your house, make sure to collect information from EPA regarding numerous certifications.

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6. Take tests of your tap water to find the content of lead

While accumulating the samples from the tap water to test them, you must prohibit using the water in your house for a minimum of 6 hours before taking the samples.

The instructions can vary in your city or the laboratory you select for collecting the samples, yet gathering the “pre-flush” sample is not missed.

7. Take care of growing and developing bodies

As much as possible, only strained or bottled fresh water to make a formula for the body and food in the house. Young kids, pregnant ladies, and nursing women must utilise filtrated or bottled fresh water to drink and cook.

Also, parents must consider getting their children checked for exposure to lead by a doctor.

8. Consider replacing the lead service line

There are approximately 3.3 million LSIs or lead service lines in Australia.

Around 50-75% of Australia’s water systems have LSIs, facilitating approximately 18 million people.

Most water systems are taking measures to diminish LSI after the Lead and Copper Rule was adopted in 1991.

9. Cut down erosion and test the chemistry of water

An essential aspect of today’s drinking water care is reducing erosion to minimise the lead from the drinking water and resolve other problems.

CCT, Corrosion Control Treatment, is specifically essential where LSIs take place. Corrosion Control Treatment differs in every system of water based on the pipe’s age and their service lines, from where the drinking water is coming from and the chemistry, along with the system’s size.

10. Know more about the levels of lead in your community

Each year, public water systems make a CCR Consumer Confidence Report that involves the data on lead controlling solutions. The water systems post lead-controlling solutions online as well.

11. Use the method of distillation

Distillation is a lengthy procedure and needs a good amount of energy from a great heat source. Hence, it may not be the ultimate procedure for removing the lead, but it is effective.

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12. The method of filtration through carbon

A few carbon block filtrates are created to cut down the lead; nevertheless, their ability to remove lead may weaken quickly. Hence, hindering their capabilities of removing the lead.

For instance, the carbon filter can only filter around 38,000~ litres containing water that may not be effective at cutting down the lead except the foremost 7,500~ litres. Hence, carbon filtrates with lead removal capabilities can not always provide a reliable method for the treatment.

13. The process of reverse osmosis

Throughout the reverse osmosis treatment of water, the water is given pressure (by the household water compression) with the help of some filtrates.

The layer in the system of reverse osmosis filters out the lead and various other pollutants, only letting water filter through. The contaminants are rinsed out, allowing you to drink filtered, clean, and healthy water.

A reverse osmosis system is a highly efficient procedure for filtering the water with the lowest production cost, consumes zero electricity, and is extremely easy to use, maintain, and clean.

14. Consider changing the piping and drainage system of your house

First of all, make sure you have any lead-contained piping systems or installations in your home.

If you are assured of having lead-containing systems, then a certified plumber may be of great help in this cause because only they are the person who knows to plumb better than anyone else.

Change the plumbing inside the household that can contain even slight chances of lead. If you furnish some new piping systems or installations, rinse cold water taps after that.

Changing the home plumbing components is highly effective when the lead’s source is inside the home’s plumbing systems. If the lead arises from the lead service line inside a public water system, this technique may not provide many benefits.

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Keeping Your Family Safe

Pb Lead Graphic

In the end, the only sure method to minimise the danger to lead is by removing all the pipework containing lead from the house. Changing the pipes between the tap and the house is the obligation of the house owner.

When the pipes are renewed, you can contact the plumbing service to restore the tiny parts of lead in the service pipeline between the main line of water in the area and the house’s value.

There is a treatment technique for lead known as the Lead And Copper Rule, which needs the water system to handle the corroding of the water.

This regulation has a system to accumulate the water samples from the tap systems with plumbing substances comprising lead.

When higher than 10% of the samples of tap water passes the action level of the lead of 15 parts for every one billion, in this case, water systems are needed to perform some other tasks, which include:

  • Performing other tasks maximise the erosion maintenance treatment (for the water systems that serve 50,000 individuals who do not have fully maximised erosion control).
  • Giving awareness to the people about the exposure of lead in drinking water and the steps people can take to minimise the exposure to lead.
  • Changing the lead service line’s divisions (lines that joins frequency mains to the people) according to the control of the water system.

Lead is unusual in that various lead in drinking water becomes apparent from the plumbing in the houses or buildings. The solution comprises mainly diminishing the plumbing and installations that contain it; however, this needs time and money. If you are looking to purchase a house, you can always have the pipes inspected and water tested to know your new property supplies.

In the meantime, every empirical method to mitigate the complete exposure to lead, which includes erosion control, must be executed. If you are not sure, remember always to ask your local plumber any questions about shown in tap water.

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