It’s always a good idea to flush water lines when water has not been used for several hours. This is true whether you have a lead service line.
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The more time water has been sitting in your home's pipes, the more lead it may contain. This is true even if you do not have a lead service line because plumbing fixtures like faucets and valves can contain small amounts of lead. After you have flushed your plumbing, filling up a container of water and storing it in the refrigerator for drinking and cooking throughout the day will reduce your lead exposure.
Flushing times vary based on the length of your lead service line and the plumbing configuration in your home. Flushing one tap in the home in most cases does not clear lead from all household plumbing because the water flows from the lead service line only to open faucets.
Take a shower or do a load of laundry. These activities typically clear most of the lead from the lead service line. You’ll still need to run kitchen or bathroom taps 30-45 seconds to clear the rest of the plumbing.
Water your garden for at least three minutes using the outside tap. This will clear the high lead from within the lead service line but will not clear the lead from internal plumbing. You’ll still have to flush the kitchen or bathroom tap for an additional 30-45 seconds.
If you have a lead service line, the water may need to run for at least five minutes to significantly reduce lead levels. This may not be practical, and you may wish to consider using a water filter certified to remove ‘total lead.’ Total lead includes lead dissolved in the water, as well as lead particles that come loose from the plumbing.
It is unlikely. To know for sure, review information about your refrigerator filter provided by the manufacturer. Typically, filters in refrigerators only remove the taste of chlorine in water.
Any time a water service line is disturbed, it’s good to flush out particles and sediment from the line. This is especially true if you have a lead service line.
If your lead service has been disturbed (e.g., worked on, cut, repaired or replaced), particles containing high levels of lead can become trapped in your home plumbing and lead levels in your drinking water may increase.
To avoid bringing lead-containing particles into your home or the tap water you drink, follow these instructions whenever your lead service line is disturbed: