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Lead Pipes

Many older areas of clark county use lead pipes

Posted 12:52 May 06, 2019
Last Updated 12:52 May 06, 2019

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Many people don't realize that lead pipes are still in use in many places throughout Clark County, Nevada.

Why is lead used in water pipes and plumbing systems?

Lead pipes have been used for thousands of years. The first Roman plumbing systems were made of lead. Plumbing comes from the Latin word plumbum, which means lead. Lead piping was often used because of its unique ability to resist small pin hole leaks. Lead is very malleable, which means it is soft and can be easily formed into shapes. Lead was used in many other common products scientific advancements in the 20th century demonstrated the element's toxicity. The plumbing industry voluntarily undertook significant steps to reduce lead exposure.

Why lead in water is still a worry today.

There are a number of reasons why trace amounts of lead can be found in the water supply today:

Nearly all homes built before the 1980's still have lead solder connecting copper pipes.

Lead can still be found in some interior water pipes and in pipes connecting a home or business to the main water pipe in the street.

Lead may be found in metal water taps, but these products must pass rigorous NSF/ANSI 61 testing and certifications to assure the lead content is below safety thresholds.

Water chemistry also affects lead toxicity levels. Water not treated properly for corrosion control may cause lead to leach from leaded plumbing materials into the water. Lead found in tap water usually comes from corrosion, fixtures, or from solder connecting the pipes together. Lead also can leach into a water supply when water sits in leaded pipes for several hours. Carefully controlled water chemistry prevents dangerous levels of lead from entering the drinking water system from the pipes.

Some major U.S. cities still have 100 percent lead piping bringing water from the utilities to businesses and residential homes. Oxygen disolved in water combines with lead, copper, or zinc at the surface to form a metal oxide. This oxidation layer naturally develops over decades to coat lead piping and prevent lead from getting into the water supply. When water conditions require it, water utilities also add lime or other phosphates as a further barrier to prevent lead from getting into drinking water.

If you are concerned about old lead pipes, fixtures, or soldering connections currently in use in your home, contact the professional plumbers here at All Trades. We service Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and most parts of Clark County, Nevada. We can conduct a complete plumbing inspection and offer you a comprehensive plan of action.

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