What should I do if I live in an older house that may have lead pipes?

You can take the following steps to learn about lead in your water or pipes:

  1. Request a free water lead sampling test by calling Durham One Call at (919) 560-1200.
  2. Hire a plumber to look at the fixtures in your house to learn if they have lead parts.
  3. Water Management will be releasing information soon on how you can check your water service line to see if it is lead, copper, galvanized steel, or plastic. 

If you think you have lead pipes, you can take these steps to protect yourself and your family:

  1. Run cold water before using. The longer the water stays in the plumbing, the more lead it may have. If the water in the faucet has been sitting for more than six hours, run water for five minutes before using it. Showering and flushing the toilet also help flush your water line.
  2. Use cold water for cooking and drinking (and making baby formula). Lead dissolves into hot water more easily than cold water. If you need hot water, draw cold water and then heat it. It is safe to shower, wash dishes, and do laundry with hot water from the tap. Lead does not affect humans through the skin.
  3. Remove and clean aerators/screens. Every three months, remove and clean aerators and screens at the tip of faucets to remove build up.
  4. Use filters. Consider using a water filter. Be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead (NSF 53-certified): visit www.nsf.org to learn more about water filters.

Show All Answers

1. Is my tap water safe to drink?
2. What are the health risks if lead is in my tap water?
3. What should I do if I live in an older house that may have lead pipes?
4. What is the Lead and Copper Rule? What are the changes under the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR)?
5. Where is Durham Water in the process of the new requirements?
6. What comes next?
7. How will Durham Water tell me about inventory results?
8. Who will pay for replacing private lines?
9. Where do irrigation and fire lines fit into the rule revisions?
10. How can I keep up with the project?
11. What is Durham doing to eliminate/reduce exposure to lead in our drinking water?
12. What can I do to minimize the risk to me and my family?
13. What should I do if I suspect lead poisoning?
14. What if I need more information or want my water tested?
15. Who may I contact at the City if I still have questions about lead?