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July 10, 2003

Contact: Ian Michaels (718) 595-6600

New York City Meets Federal Standards For Lead In Drinking Water For The Fifth Straight Year

Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the City's Residential Lead in Drinking Water program once again has successfully met all government standards.

"I am pleased to report that DEP's Citywide Lead in Drinking Water program has met the federal guidelines for the fifth year in a row," said Commissioner Ward. “However, City residents should still be aware that while the water is delivered lead-free, some homes in the City still have lead in their plumbing. Have the water in your home tested for lead. It’s free and it’s important for your health.”

New York City water is virtually lead-free when it is delivered from the City's upstate reservoir system. However, water can absorb lead from solder, fixtures and pipes in the plumbing of some buildings and homes. To minimize absorption of lead from plumbing systems, DEP adds a corrosion control compound and adjusts the water's pH. To monitor the effectiveness of corrosion control efforts, the Department has been tracking lead levels in tap water taken from selected homes around the City.

For people concerned that lead might be present in their drinking water, the Department also instituted a comprehensive public education program that lists simple steps they can take to reduce the possibility of lead in drinking water. For instance, before using water that has been standing in pipes for more than six hours, people may flush the cold-water tap for 30 seconds to two minutes until the water turns cold; and, because hot water is more apt to leach lead from plumbing than cold water, people should only use water from the cold water tap for cooking, drinking and preparing baby formula.

Consumers of water in the City may request a free kit to test for lead in drinking water by calling the City’s new 24-hour help line at 311. Additional information is available from the federal Environmental Protection Agency's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600