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The East Lauderdale County Water Authority on Thursday issued a required drinking water notice to its customers after testing showed elevated levels of lead in drinking water at three homes.

Laboratory analysis for the monitoring period ending June 30 found three results exceeded the EPA Action Level of 15 micrograms per liter. Sampling consisted of 20 samples collected in different parts of the ELCWA service area with results ranging from no detection to 120 micrograms per liter.

“On Aug. 23, ELCWA’s laboratory reported one of three confirmation samples collected on Aug. 1 continued to show an exceedance of the EPA Action Level for lead,” said a press release from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. “At this time, there is no evidence of lead in the water sources used by ELCWA, nor are there any known lead service lines in the system.”

On Aug. 21, ADEM directed ELCWA to prepare a corrosion control report, conduct water quality parameter and source monitoring, double the number of routine samples from 20 to 40 and provide educational materials to its customers and other consumers. The release said ADEM would be working closely with ELCWA to return the system to compliance as soon as possible.

“Anytime that a lead Action Level is exceeded is a concern, particularly for young children and pregnant women,” said ADEM Director Lance LeFleur. “Until ELCWA is able to demonstrate lead levels that are in compliance with EPA’s Action Level, there are steps residents can take to reduce exposure.”

ADEM advises customers who are concerned they may have lead in their plumbing to take the following steps:

• Run the water for 15-30 seconds to flush lead from plumbing prior to using the water;

• Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Hot water in contact with the pipes can leach more lead, so using cold water can reduce exposures; and

• Consider bottled water as an alternative source. Additionally, there are filters available for home use that will remove lead. NSF International maintains a list of filter products certified to remove lead.

Boiling water does not remove lead. Bathing and showering should be safe, even if the water contains lead over EPA's action level. Human skin does not absorb lead in water.

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