Operation Clean & Clear
PWC is continuing its proactive measures to protect customers from lead exposure by conducting an inventory of all water service lines maintained by PWC as well as service lines connected to PWC lines. In 2022, PWC began a water system improvement project that will identify all water service lines in our distribution system and determine whether homes and businesses have any lead lines. Based on records and knowledge of our system, we anticipate there to be minimal instances of lead service lines, but we will be documenting all locations.
Any locations within our system that we can’t confirm with existing data, will require PWC and our contractors to conduct site surveys at those customer locations. These efforts will ensure PWC is in compliance with the latest revision of the Safe Drinking Water Act-Lead and Copper Rule. Through Operation Clean and Clear, PWC will be a resource for educating customers about potential lead materials in their homes and businesses and by 2024, will provide an online resource for identifying
properties with lead lines/plumbing.
If you are concerned about lead in your water, information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, steps you can take to minimize exposure and additional information is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791) or at www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
Visit www.epa.gov/dwreginfo/lead-and-copper-rule for more information about the Lead and Copper Rule.
EPA Lead and Copper Rule
Since the 1987 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) that prohibited the use of lead piping in plumbing, there have been a series of changes and new regulations in continuing efforts to protect the public from lead exposure through drinking water. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing.
The latest revision to the 1991 Lead and Copper rule, lowers the level for required actions for utilities, revises sampling protocols, increases communications and requires utilities to provide a public resource for the types of material used throughout the water system.
Because elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for young children, the latest revisions to the EPA rule include additional focus on schools and day cares. PWC has conducted an inventory of the service lines connectin to local schools and licensed day cares. You can view the results of the inventory below:
What We’ve Done
PWC’s drinking water is safe and meets or surpasses all EPA drinking water standards. PWC was the first utility in North Carolina to earn the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Director’s Award for our extra efforts in providing clean, safe drinking water and has maintained that prestigious recognition for 20 consecutive years.
Since 1991, PWC has participated in the lead and copper sampling program as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). As a result, PWC implemented a corrosion control program to stop lead from the pipes and fixtures from entering the water system. This corrosion control program has been successful in that all of PWC’s samples are well below the EPA mandated thresholds for lead in drinking water.
In 1997, PWC obtained reduced monitoring based on three years of sampling data that indicated our corrosion control program was effective and our system followed the requirements of the SDWA pertaining to lead and copper. Since that time, PWC tests a minimum of fifty locations once every three years. The most recent testing was 2020 in which no lead was detected. Additionally, PWC collects tap water samples for customers on a requested basis.
Inventory of pipe Materials
Service laterals are pipes that connect main water lines to an individual home or business. While lead piping was banned in 1987, and known lead lines installed prior to 1987 have been replaced over the years, PWC has nearly 100,000 water laterals in its system that require documentation.
Based on records and knowledge of the PWC system, we anticipate there to be minimal instances of lead service lines, but we will be documenting all locations. Any locations within our system that we can’t confirm with existing data, will require PWC and our contractors to conduct site surveys at those customer locations.
Contractors working for the Fayetteville Public Works Commission will be conducting an inventory of the different types of pipes used to connect PWC’s water mains to homes. This work is being done to ensure PWC continues to provide water that meets and exceeds EPA requirements. PWC is working with the contractor McKim & Creed to do the dig work at water meters across the city.
- Crews will be digging small holes around water service lines to see if they are made of lead or galvanized steel (lead-containing material).
- The holes will be dug within a few feet on both sides of your water meter, which is typically within the right-of-way.
- Crews will cut out a plug of grass at the dig sites prior to digging, fill in the holes the same day once the work is completed and replace the grass plug.
- Crews will be using a special vacuum truck to remove dirt from the hole. This is the preferred method to examine the pipes while minimizing the potential of damaging the water lines.
Once the pipes have been identified, information will be mailed to you. If the service line has lead, PWC will send you more information on what happens next.
In addition to PWC service lines, new rules will require the identification of lead materials that may exist on the customer’s water line that connects the PWC meter to their home or business. While PWC is responsible for providing high quality drinking water distributed through the PWC system, it cannot control the variety of materials used on private property nor has any existing records verify if lead may exist. Copper piping with lead solder as well as lead service lines are more likely to be found in homes built before 1986. Among homes without lead service lines, brass or chrome-plated brass faucets may also create lead exposure.
About pWc’s corrosion Control
PWC corrosion control measures meets or exceeds the variety of water quality levels mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), formally known at the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (NCDNER). PWC implemented the use of zinc-orthophosphate for corrosion control in 1994 for our water distribution system. Following the implementation and based on positive results of its use, in January of 1997, after reviewing three years of lead level analysis, the NCDENR notified PWC that they considered our water system’s corrosion control to be optimized.
Because of our optimized corrosion control, PWC’s requirements of our lead and copper monitoring sites and analysis frequency was reduced by state authorites. This reduced monitoring stage came with a list of water quality parameters that we were required to monitor, as well as set ranges that could not be exceeded. The water quality parameters are such things as pH, corrosion inhibitor dose, alkalinity, and calcium levels.
Along with maintaining these water quality parameters, PWC has a continuous corrosion coupon analysis system in place. Eight mid-steel coupons are placed throughout the distribution system where they remain in contact with our drinking water for a period of 90 days. After 90 days, the steel coupons are removed and sent to a lab to measure what changes have occurred in “corrosion rate factor”. We continuously monitor this factor for any changes in the corrosivity of our water. Since switching to zinc-orthophosphate, we remained in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule, and we have maintained the above-mentioned water quality parameters within the state’s established ranges for optimized corrosion control.
In 2008, as a result of our change in primary coagulants from Aluminum Sulfate to Ferric Sulfate in our water treatment process, we performed another corrosion control study to ensure that our change in coagulants had not adversely affected our corrosion control plan. The year-long bench-scale test at the P.O. Hoffer WTF compared the zinc-orthophosphate we were using was compared to four other leading corrosion inhibitor blends. The orthophosphate that we had been using since January 1994 was shown to still be the best inhibitor for corrosion control so that PWC remained in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule, and have maintained the above-mentioned water quality parameters within the established ranges for optimized corrosion control.
Click here to read more about the latest testing results for PWC’s corrosion control measures submitted to the EPA.