The Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority (LCWSA) owns and operates public water systems in portions of Fairfield and Muncy Townships as well as a small water system in a portion of Limestone Township, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. LCWSA is paying close attention to what is and has unfolded in Flint, Michigan.
The issues in Flint underscore that the priority of public water providers is first to protect the families we serve. Those of us involved in managing, treating and delivering water share an obligation to protect public health.
While we do not have first-hand information about what occurred in Flint, what is known is that when Flint switched its water supply source, required steps to manage water chemistry were missed. The new water source caused lead to leach from service lines and home plumbing – lead that ended up in water coming out of the taps.
Lead does not come from the treatment plants and water mains; it comes from lead service lines running between the water main in the street and the home, and from plumbing inside the home. Older community water systems with homes built before World War 2 may still have lead service lines.
This type of wide spread incident is unlikely within our operating systems due to the era in which the service lines were constructed within our systems; and because the source water is treated for corrosion control and is monitored daily to assure proper treatment. In addition, the Authority samples individual homes in accordance with the regulatory requirements and is proactive in coordination and management with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. Pa DEP oversees these regulatory requirements in Pennsylvania while the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sets these standards nationally.
There is positive movement in the national approach to eliminating lead risks. The U.S. federal regulation that addresses lead in drinking water – the Lead and Copper Rule – is currently under revision. The National Drinking Water Advisory Council, which advises the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, has recommended that utilities should create plans for removal of all lead service lines within their systems, with a shared responsibility between the utility and their customers. It also advised that utilities should engage in more outreach to customers on lead, including assisting them with testing their water.
If you are a property owner, there are steps you can take to address potential risks from lead in water. Lead service lines are typically only present in older homes, but older brass faucets with lead content can be in newer homes. A certified plumber can tell you for sure if you have a lead service line, check for lead solders in your internal pipes, and look for fixtures containing lead.
If you have questions about the service line at your home or questions about the management of lead in the water by the Authority, please feel free to contact LCWSA at 877-546-8005.
LCWSA operates and maintains its drinking water systems to assure safe and adequate drinking water supply needs are met in our community. As a member of American Water Works Association (AWWA), LCWSA and those in the surrounding communities are committed to providing safe drinking water to our consumers.
LCWSA Contact: Christine Weigle, Executive Director – (877) 546-8005
Please check the links below for more information on Lead and Public Water Systems