Tag Archives: lead service lines

Lead intake from tap water of homes with lead plumbing, England

Jarvis P, Quy K, Macadam J, Edwards M, Smith M. Intake of lead (Pb) from tap water of homes with leaded and low lead plumbing systems. Sci Total Environ. 2018 Dec 10;644:1346-1356. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.064.

Methods of quantifying consumer exposure to lead in drinking water are increasingly of interest worldwide, especially those that account for consumer drinking habits and the semi-random nature of water lead release from plumbing systems. A duplicate intake protocol was developed in which individuals took a sub-sample from each measured drink they consumed in the home over three days in both winter and summer. The protocol was applied in two different water company regional areas (WC1 and WC2), selected to represent high risk situations in England, with the presence or absence of lead service pipes or phosphate corrosion control. Consumer exposure to lead was highest in properties with lead service pipes, served by water without P dosing. The protocol indicated that a small number of individuals in the study, all from homes with lead service pipes, consumed lead at levels that exceeded current guidance from the European Food Standards Agency. Children’s potential blood lead levels (BLLs) were estimated using the Internal Exposure Uptake Biokinetic model (IEUBK). The IEUBK model predicted that up to 46% of children aged 0-7 years old may have elevated BLLs (>5 μg/dL) when consuming the worst case drinking water quality (>99%ile). Estimating blood lead levels using the IEUBK model for more typical lead concentrations in drinking water identified in this study (between 0.1 and 7.1 μg/L), predicts that elevated BLLs may affect a small proportion of children between 0 and 7 years old.

Impact of partial lead service line replacement

Doré E, Deshommes E, Laroche L, Nour S, Prévost M. Lead and copper release from full and partially replaced harvested lead service lines: Impact of stagnation time prior to sampling and water quality. Water Research 2018 Dec 3;150:380-391. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2018.11.076.

Partial lead service line replacement (PLSLR) results in the addition of a new galvanic connection and can increase lead concentrations at the tap. Focus has been given to minimizing lead release after PLSLR, but little information is available on the impact of lead remedial actions on copper concentrations, especially before passivation occurs. The impact of water quality (decreased chloride-to-sulfate mass ratio from 0.9 to 0.3; addition of orthoP; pH increase to 8.3) on lead and copper concentrations was investigated after stagnation (30 min-336 h) in a pipe rig comparing full lead service line (LSL), and two configurations of partial LSLs (Cu-Pb and Pb-Cu). Results show different trends for lead and copper: maximum lead concentrations were reached in 16 h while copper concentrations continued to increase over 336 h. Lead release rates were also the highest in the first 16 h of stagnation and were strongly impacted by water quality and the configuration of PLSLR (Cu-Pb vs Pb-Cu). Increasing the sampling flow rate from 5 to 15 LPM drastically increased the particulate lead release (78-fold) in Pb-Cu configurations; this effect was however not observed in 100% Pb or Cu-Pb configurations. High velocity flushing prior to 16 h stagnation decreased total Pb release by a factor of 12-fold for Cu-Pb, 1.6-fold for Pb-Cu and 2.0-fold for 100% Pb. Results support the definition of sampling protocols targeted for the detection of lead and copper sources and the proscription of flushing prior to sampling.

Partial Lead Service Line Replacement Should be Avoided

Deshommes E, Laroche L, Deveau D, Nour S, Prévost M. Short- and Long-Term Lead Release after Partial Lead Service Line Replacements in a Metropolitan Water Distribution System. Environ Sci Technol. 2017 Aug 9. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.7b01720.

Thirty-three households were monitored in a full-scale water distribution system, to investigate the impact of recent (<2 yr) or old partial lead service line replacements (PLSLRs). Total and particulate lead concentrations were measured using repeat sampling over a period of 1-20 months. Point-of-entry filters were installed to capture sporadic release of particulate lead from the lead service lines (LSLs). Mean concentrations increased immediately after PLSLRs and erratic particulate lead spikes were observed over the 18 month post-PLSLR monitoring period. The mass of lead released during this time frame indicates the occurrence of galvanic corrosion and scale destabilization. System-wide, lead concentrations were however lower in households with PLSLRs as compared to those with no replacement, especially for old PLSLRs. Nonetheless, 61% of PLSLR samples still exceeded 10 μg/L, reflecting the importance of implementing full LSL replacement and efficient risk communication. Acute concentrations measured immediately after PLSLRs demonstrate the need for appropriate flushing procedures to prevent lead poisoning.