Community Notes: City water department deals with new regulations
By Cory Spieker, Charles City Water Superintendent and Street Superintendent
Lead and Copper Testing
The Lead and Copper Rule started in the 1990s and requires every city nationwide to test for lead in drinking water. Lead can enter drinking water through corrosion of plumbing materials, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures.
Homes built prior to 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, plumbing fixtures and solder containing lead. The Charles City Water Treatment Plant uses corrosion control techniques to maintain acidity and prevent our water from becoming corrosive.
We have historically had test results well below the 15 parts per billion (ppb) action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency. Charles City’s highest result in the past 25 years was 5.4 ppb.
These results can be found on the yearly consumer confidence report found on the City’s website at https://www.cityofcharlescity.org/Archive.aspx?AMID=36.
Operators run tests daily at the water treatment plant and in the system to ensure all EPA and Department of Natural Resources testing requirements are being met.
Last year the Lead and Copper Rule Revision (LCRR) was signed into law. This law also affects every city in the United States. There are quite a few changes that came with this new law. These requirements need to be met by 2024.
One of the major requirements of the law is to have a 100% inventory of the entire service line from the water main to the curb stop and from the curb stop to the water meter for every service in the city.
We have started compiling this information as we gain access to houses while we are doing our meter change-out program. As we have done water main projects over the years, we have replaced service lines from the water main to the curb stop with copper lines.
These two projects alone have given us a significant amount of data, but we have a long way to go to meet this requirement. We will be vacuuming down to a number of curb stops in the right of way to verify the material on both sides.
At some point we may ask for the public’s participation gathering data within your residence.
Another big change with the new LCRR is that if a lead service line is found, the entire service line, from the water main to the water meter, will have to be replaced.
Earlier this month the city council approved a contract with 120Water to help the city develop a lead service line replacement program, replacement procedures, as well as communication and funding sources for complete service line replacement.
Working with 120Water will ensure that we are developing a framework that supports our goals of meeting or exceeding requirements of the new law and continuing to provide the highest quality water possible to the citizens of Charles City.
After 33 years of service to the Charles City Water Department, Tom Eckenrod retired in February. Tom played a critical role in keeping the water flowing at the plant and in the distribution system over the years.
We wish Tom a long, healthy, and happy retirement!
If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding your water supply, please feel free to contact the water department. You can contact me by email at [email protected] or by phone at (641)-257-6315.