The leaching of lead in domestic water distribution systems

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University of New Brunswick


The purpose of this report is to investigate the problem of lead leaching from soldered joints and to determine the potential for occurrence in the Fredericton area. It will involve the following: an examination of the circumstances and conditions influencing the dissolution of lead into drinking waters, an evaluation of current legislation and regulations, an analysis of samples taken from selected test areas in Fredericton, and recommendations to reduce lead contamination in the water supply in Fredericton. Aggressiveness, temperature and stagnation period of the water all contribute to the amount and the rate at which lead is dissolved in drinking water. The water supplied to the test areas in Fredericton is moderately aggressive and initially contains no lead. Any lead found in the water is due to the lead-based solder used to connect copper pipes and any fixtures with lead content. It has been proven in previous studies that lead contamination can be significantly reduced by flushing out the pipes thoroughly before drinking or cooking with the water and by never using hot water for cooking.