News Feature | January 6, 2017

York Utility's 4-Year Plan Replaces Lead Service Lines

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

york reg new

A water utility in central Pennsylvania is taking steps to protect its customers from lead.

“York Water Co. plans to replace all of the lead lines it owns over the next four years after tests found elevated levels of the contaminant in some area buildings' drinking water. During its EPA-mandated water sampling, which water companies have to do every three years, York Water found in September that six of the 50 buildings it tested had more than 15 parts per billion of lead in their tap water,” The York Dispatch reported, citing Jeff Hines, the company's president.

York Water also plans to replace customer-owned lead parts of any pipe it works on, according to the report. Here are the results from lead testing for this water system, per the Dispatch:

  • The EPA mandates that water suppliers such as York Water do this kind of test every three years. Last time, none of the properties were above 15 ppb, Hines said. He said that the 90th percentile of the 50 properties tested in 2013 was 4 ppb. But now that more than five were above 15 ppb, York Water has to test every six months. The 90th percentile this year was 16 ppb, he said.

York Water Co. “has more than 66,000 customers in 48 municipalities in York and Adams counties,” the Associated Press reported. The company “owns lead lines that serve 1,660 buildings, representing 3 percent of its customers,” the York Daily Record reported.

In 2016, less than 5 percent of water systems in Pennsylvania were found to have "actionable" lead levels, according to The York Dispatch. Under the federal Lead and Copper Rule, a water system must take steps to address its lead conditions if the concentration hits 15 parts per billion.

York Water issued a news release about lead levels in November, and maintains a section on its website offering lead information to customers.

“The water that leaves York Water’s filter plant does not contain lead. Lead can get into a property’s drinking water because of a lead service line, leaded solder in a property, or lead in plumbing fixtures. York Water stopped installing lead service lines in 1934,” the news release said.

To read more about how utilities are dealing with lead infrastructure visit Water Online’s Asset Management Solutions Center.

Image credit: "york pa," axel drainville © 2015, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/