How will I know if my drinking water has lead in it?

The EPA has set an Action Level for lead at 15 micrograms per liter (or parts per billion). At least 90% of samples taken (the 90th percentile) must be less than 15 micrograms per liter. The Action Level for copper is 1.3 milligrams per liter (or parts per million).

In accordance with the Lead and Copper Rule, Soquel Creek Water District has been regularly testing the water at a selected number of higher-risk homes since 1993 and has never exceeded the Action Level. These homes were constructed using copper pipes with lead solder prior to the 1986 federal ban on lead solder. Our monitoring is conducted in accordance with regulatory requirements and guidance.

The 90th percentile results of the District’s most recent monitoring (2016) were well below the Action Levels. The 90th percentile lead was not detected at or above the State detection level (5 micrograms per liter). The 90th percentile copper concentration was 0.37 milligrams per liter. A total of 31 homes were tested. Lead was detected above the State detection level in only one of the 31 samples (at 7.9 micrograms per liter), and none of the copper concentrations from the 31 homes were above the Action Level.

If the Action Level is exceeded, water utilities are required to notify all of its customers and provide instructions on what to do to limit lead exposure as required by the EPA. In addition, the EPA requires water systems to control the corrosiveness of their water if the level of lead at home taps exceeds the Action Level.

Helpful Resources

For more information, the American Water Works Association has created a video on how water utilities look for lead and copper in the water supply.

Show All Answers

1. What is lead?
2. How can I be exposed to lead?
3. What are the risks of lead exposure?
4. How does lead get into drinking water?
5. How will I know if my drinking water has lead in it?
6. How can I find out if my home may have lead in its plumbing?
7. How can I reduce my exposure to lead in my drinking water?
8. Should I test my children for exposure to lead?
9. What is the State doing to protect children from elevated lead in drinking water?
10. What are the District’s most recent lead monitoring results?