The Newport Water Division (NWD) wants all users of Newport’s drinking water to know that we are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure that we are delivering the best quality drinking water to you each and every day. Our water meets or exceeds all Federal and State Safe Drinking Water Act regulations. Drinking water leaving treatment plants does not contain lead. However, under certain circumstances, water can cause lead to leach from service lines, lead-based solder on copper pipes (used until 1986), and older brass faucets/fittings that contain lead.
There are three approaches for a Water Supplier to reduce lead exposure:
The NWD is actively working to reduce lead in drinking water:
Actions our customers can take to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water include:
Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Lead can be found in air, soil, dust, food, and water.
The most common source of lead exposure is from paint in homes and buildings built before 1978. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978.
Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, lead also can be found in some household plumbing materials and some water service lines. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10 to 20 percent of human exposure to lead may come from lead in drinking water. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Lead can cause a variety of adverse health effects when people are exposed to it. These effects may include increases in the blood pressure of some adults; delays in normal physical and mental development in babies and young children; and, deficits in the attention span, hearing, and learning abilities of children.
Lead is rarely found naturally in our source water or in the treated water flowing through the distribution system. More commonly, lead leaches into water over time through corrosion—a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. Lead can leach into water from pipes, solder, fixtures, faucets (brass) and fittings. The amount of lead in your water depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the water’s corrosivity, and water temperature.
The City of Newport Department of Utilities - Water Division regularly tests the water at a selected number of high-risk homes. If samples show lead at or above 15 micrograms per liter, we notify the customer and provide instructions on what to do to limit lead exposure as required by Rhode Island Department of Health.
You can also have your water tested for lead. Since you cannot see, taste, or smell lead dissolved in water, testing is the only sure way of telling whether there are harmful quantities of lead in your drinking water. A list of certified laboratories is available from the Rhode Island Department of Health at: www.health.ri.gov/find/labs/analytical
The EPA defines high-risk homes as follows:
If you’re concerned your home plumbing may contain lead pipes (lead is a dull gray metal that is soft enough to be easily scratched with a house key) or if you see signs of corrosion (frequent leaks, rust-colored water), you may want to have your water tested by a state certified laboratory. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent.
The NWD is responsible for any lead service line from the water main to the curbstop (shut off valve) located near the property line. Lead services lines from the curbstop to a home located on a customer’s property are not part of the public water system and are the responsibility of the property owner. NWD strongly advises that you contact a licensed plumber for work on your service line.
There are many steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water, but if you have lead service lines, the best step you can take is to have them replaced.
Click here for a list of certified laboratories available from the Rhode Island Department of Health
Check out information about What's in my Water by DrinkTap.org
The Environmental Protection Agency offers up some useful tips on lead and drinking water as well.
If you have further questions in regards to lead in your drinking water read NWD’s annual consumer confidence report (CCR) to find out how we are working to reduce levels of lead in drinking water and other information about your drinking water. You can also call the NWD at (401) 845-5600 if you have questions.
43 Broadway, Newport, RI 02840
Phone: (401) 845-5300 (M-F 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
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