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Customer Safety is our Top Priority

How does DC Water address lead?

DC Water works with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Washington Aqueduct to control corrosion of pipes and plumbing throughout the District, which minimizes the release of lead into water. DC Water meets all EPA standards for lead in water, and continues to monitor for lead at the tap, replace lead service pipes, and help customers identify and remove lead sources on their property. 

How does lead get into water?

Water is essentially lead-free when it leaves the Aqueduct’s treatment facility and travels through DC Water’s distribution system and water mains in the street. Clean water can come in contact with lead as it flows through the pipes and plumbing in and around your home. Lead enters water through corroding plumbing materials including lead service pipes, galvanized iron household pipes, lead solder, and brass faucets, valves, or fittings. Lead sources and lead levels vary between buildings, so it is important to identify and remove any lead sources in each building.

How can I get rid of lead?

Protecting drinking water from lead sources is the shared responsibility of DC Water and the property owner. DC Water strongly encourages residents to identify and remove any lead pipes or plumbing materials serving their home. For information about your service line, contact Customer Service at (202) 354-3600 or view our lead service line map. Residents may also request a lead test kit from the Drinking Water Division at (202) 612-3440 or leadtest@dcwater.com.

How can I reduce my risk of lead exposure?

If you have pipes or plumbing fixtures that contain lead, or if you don’t know their material type, you should take steps to minimize potential lead exposure until all sources of lead have been removed.

  • Flush your pipes before using any tap water for drinking or cooking. Run cold water until the temperature changes and then allow it to run for an additional two minutes.
  • Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
  • Filter your water if there are known or suspected lead sources.
  • Remove and clean faucet aerators every 3 months. 
  • Request a free lead test kit. 

If present, elevated lead levels can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Filter your water before drinking and cooking until all sources of lead have been removed. This includes water used for making infant formula, beverages, and ice. Ensure the filter is NSF/ANSI 53 certified for lead removal by looking on the package or calling the manufacturer. Consult our Water Filter Guide for selecting the appropriate filter.