Tuesday, August 30, 2016

On The Right Thing To Do

Supplying safe drinking water to customers is vitally important to MLGW – not just because state and federal laws require it, but because it is the right thing to do.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) are responsible for developing guidelines and procedures and for enforcement of the Safe Drinking Water Act.  Those rules and regulations apply to all public water supply systems, including MLGW. 

Those rules include provisions for monitoring the effectiveness of corrosion control measures put in place to minimize lead and copper concentrations at customer taps. 

While there is no detectable level of lead in MLGW’s water source, lead service lines and home plumbing exist in some older sections of the city as do copper service lines and home plumbing with lead solder installed after 1982.

MLGW identified a pool of sites that included homes with lead water service lines/home plumbing or service lines/home plumbing made of copper with lead solder. 

In accordance with the rules, MLGW draws 50 sample addresses from the pool of sites -- 25 "lead" and 25 "copper" to test for levels of lead and copper every three years.  Some of the addresses have been tested every three years since the pool of sites was identified in 1991 and the results reported to TDEC; but, if an address is unavailable at the time of testing (the homeowner declines to participate, for instance), then we use another home within the pool of sites. We depend on the customer to collect the samples for the water test.  After each test, we notify the resident of the results.
MLGW has consistently done this testing since rules went into effect and the results show that our corrosion control program works.
Lead exposure is a serious issue and lead paint, not water, is the primary source for lead exposure in Shelby County.
MLGW estimates that out of 254,000 homes and businesses in our service area about 25,000  may have lead service lines. Most of these homes are within the Parkways or just outside the Parkways. MLGW has an interactive map that although not 100 percent accurate provides information regarding where lead service lines may be located.  The interactive map will be updated as MLGW works to verify the data.
President Collins says, "MLGW has a great corrosion control program. In addition we are already actively performing physical inspections of water service lines on a mass basis in order to try to identify what water service lines are made of. Finally we are already actively replacing MLGW’s lead service lines and intend to budget more money for this effort next year so that we can replace the lead service lines at a faster pace.”
Our goal is to replace all of these MLGW lead service lines within the next ten years.

President Collins talks about Memphis water.

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