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Aurora Water's Lead Service Line Replacement Program Overview

Aurora WaterPhoto of lead  needs property owner assistance to find and ultimately replace lead and galvanized steel water service lines. 
  • Aurora Water will mail a notice to the property owners of buildings constructed prior to 1960 if there are no availablePhoto of lead segment records indicating the type of material used for the private side of the water service line. The notice includes a request to sign a Consent Form, which will allow Aurora Water to pothole the privately owned portion of the water service line.
  • Online consent forms can be found here. Printed copies may also be emailed to [email protected] or mailed to 26791 E. Quincy Ave., Aurora, CO, 80016.
  • After the consent form is signed and returned to Aurora Water, the property will be scheduled for potholing by Aurora Water's contractor, AGL Construction. 
  • AGL will notify property owners and tenants (if applicable) at least 48 hours prior to potholing via a door hanger, email or postcard. Please ensure street access is not blocked in front of your property according to the instructions provided and comply with no parking signs.
  • After the service line has been visually inspected, if the line  is determined to be made of either lead or galvanized steel, property occupants will be notified and provided with information about steps to take to minimize exposure to lead, and a water pitcher filter that can be used to filter water for drinking and cooking. 
  • Aurora Water will contact the occupants of properties where lead or galvanized water service lines are found and have their water quality tested for lead approximately 30 days after potholing has been completed. 
  • Aurora Water or its contractor will schedule with property owners the replacement of water service lines that are confirmed to be made of lead or galvanized steel. Aurora Water is currently developing a schedule for anticipated replacements and more information will be made available in the coming months.

How is Aurora Water finding water service lines containing lead?  

In some cases, Aurora Water may have records indicating the service line material type on the city’s side. However, Aurora Water rarely has records that provide information about the type of material used for the privately owned side of the service line. Therefore, Aurora Water is conducting physical inspection of service lines in the oldest areas of Aurora. Potholing, a process used to create two small holes (approximately 6" wide) over service lines, is used to uncover service lines. Once uncovered, service lines are visually inspected to determine the material type.

Why is Aurora Water paying to replace service lines containing lead?  

Nationally, the use of lead pipes and fittings was phased out by the 1980s and historically the burden of replacing lead pipes on private property has fallen on homeowners. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has set an aggressive goal for removing all water service lines made of lead or galvanized steel to ensure all people are protected from exposure to lead in drinking water. The cost of replacing the water service lines is a barrier for many of our customers and disproportionally so for underserved areas of cities across the U.S. 

Aurora Water is working toward developing a plan for replacement that will take into consideration prioritizing replacements for vulnerable populations (e.g. children and pregnant women), and communities that are underserved and experiencing poorer health outcomes compared to other parts of the city. Federal and state funding is also being explored to supplement the available financial resources for lead and galvanized steel water service line replacements.  

Health effects from lead in drinking water

Exposure to lead in drinking water can cause serious health effects in all age groups. Infants and children can have decreases in IQ and attention span. Lead exposure can lead to new learning and behavior problems or exacerbate existing learning and behavior problems. The children of women who are exposed to lead before or during pregnancy can have increased risk of these adverse health effects. Adults can have increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney or nervous system problems.

EPA Lead in Drinking Water Basic information about lead in drinking water (US EPA)
CDPHE Lead in drinking water fact sheet.pdf -- Google Drive

If I have a lead or galvanized steel water service line, how can I reduce my exposure to lead? 

1. Filter water used for drinking, cooking or infant formula. If Aurora Water confirms that your water service line is made of lead or galvanized steel, a water pitcher filter with replacement filters will be provided to building occupants. The filters provided by Aurora Water are rated to remove lead when following the manufacturer's directions included with the filters. Please note, filters also remove chlorine, so you no longer have protection from bacteria. Be sure to keep any storage containers clean.

2. Let the water run before using it to fill you water pitcher filter for drinking or cooking. If you have a lead service line, let the water run for 3-5 minutes. If you do not have a lead service line, let the water run for 30-60 seconds. The more time water has been sitting in your pipes, the more lead it may contain.

Ways to let the water run before using it: 
Do household tasks like showering or running the dishwasher first. Collect tap water for cleaning or watering plants   

3. Hot water releases more lead from pipes than cold water. Boiling water does not reduce lead levels and may actually increase them. 

4. Clean faucet aerators monthly. If you can, remove aerators from the faucets in your home. The aerator is located at the end of the faucet and can be removed by unscrewing it. 

To clear the aerator of debris: 
Unscrew the aerator 
Separate the individual parts inside the aerator
Soak the parts in white vinegar for five minutes and gently scrub with a brush

5. Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead and any copper piping with lead solder. 

6. Always buy plumbing fixtures (faucets, valves, sinks, shower heads, hose bibs, etc.) that have zero-lead or low-lead content. Read the labels of any new plumbing fixtures closely. 

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