December 12, 2021
The Village of Garden City was recently notified of a high lead level in the domestic water supply sample at a home in Garden City. The Village contacted the Nassau County Health Department immediately for information and any guidance and simultaneously conducted tests for lead at each of its active well sites where the treated water enters the Village-wide distribution system. Those tests came back “Non-Detect” for lead and the results were shared with the Health Department. In conversations with the Health Department, preliminary results indicate that the home in question has a lead service line connection to the Village water main. The Village is awaiting a final report from the Health Department’s investigation and any recommendations that may be forthcoming.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In homes with lead pipes that connect the home to the water main, also known as lead service lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water. Among homes without lead service lines, the most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) has reduced the maximum allowable lead content -- that is, content that is considered "lead-free" -- to be a weighted average of 0.25 percent calculated across the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures and 0.2 percent for solder and flux.
The Village immediately conducted tests for lead at each of its active well sites where the treated water enters the Village-wide distribution system. Those tests came back “Non-Detect” for lead and were forwarded to the Health Department. H2M, the Village’s water consultants, is evaluating the effectiveness of corrosion control treatment throughout the Village. The Village has conducted all required lead and copper compliance mandates as required under the Federal Lead and Copper Rule, including the most recent sampling conducted in 2020, and was found to be in compliance. The Village, which is aggressively monitoring the water supply and is in regular communication with the Health Department during their investigation, will remain vigilant and provide updates as more information becomes available.
Free Test Kit
Residents can immediately request free lead testing kits through the New York State Department of Health. Email FreeWaterTesting@health.ny.gov and provide the following information:
- your name
- your phone number
- your e-mail address
- address for sample location and address for mailing test kit, if different
- county for sample location
- 1st choice for participating laboratory
- 2nd choice for participating laboratory
You should be aware that the results of these samples are not made available to the Village. If you wish, you can forward a copy of the results to the Village Water Department, but it is not a requirement of your participation in the New York State Department of Health program.
List of Laboratories
- Advanced Analytical Technologies, Orangeburg, Rockland County
- EMSL Analytical, Inc., New York, New York County
- Envirotest Laboratories, Inc., Newburgh, Orange County
- Erie County Public Health Laboratory, Buffalo, Erie County
- NY Environmental and Analytical Labs Inc., Port Washington, Nassau County
- Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research, Valhalla, Westchester County
My Test is Positive. What Do I Do Now?
According to the EPA, there are several steps residents can take if their water has tested positive for lead:
- Learn if you have a lead service line. Contact your water utility or a licensed plumber to determine if the pipe that connects your home to the water main (called a service line) is made from lead. If a lead service line is discovered, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to replace it.
- Run your water. Before drinking, flush your home’s pipes by running the tap, taking a shower, doing laundry, or doing a load of dishes. The amount of time to run the water will depend on whether your home has a lead service line or not, and the length of the lead service line. Residents should contact their water utility for recommendations about flushing times in their community.
- Learn about construction in your neighborhood. Be aware of any construction or maintenance work that could disturb your lead service line. Construction may cause more lead to be released from a lead service line.
- Use cold water. Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and making baby formula. Remember, boiling water does not remove lead from water.
- Clean your aerator. Regularly clean your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator). Sediment, debris, and lead particles can collect in your aerator. If lead particles are caught in the aerator, lead can get into your water.
- Use your filter properly. If you use a filter, make sure you use a filter certified to remove lead. Read the directions to learn how to properly install and use your cartridge and when to replace it. Using the cartridge after it has expired can make it less effective at removing lead. Do not run hot water through the filter.