Monday, November 2, 2009

EPA responds to county letter on lead levels

Oh...corrosion and old plumbing cause elevated lead levels in water even when uranium mining is closeby. Epic fail, EPA.

The Environmental Protection Agency offered guidelines for water well management in response to a Pittsylvania County inquiry into elevated lead levels near where a uranium company conducted exploratory drilling.

County Administrator William Sleeper said he sent a letter to the EPA back in April to ask what could be done about lead levels in wells and its role in regulation. The agency responded on Oct. 26.

The Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors asked both the EPA and the Virginia Department of Health to investigate lead levels after Sheva resident Allen Gross said that a well water sample showed more than the maximum safe level of lead in drinking water, according to past Danville Register & Bee reports. Testing showed a rise in lead levels compared to past samples. Gross lives about a mile from Coles Hill, where Virginia Uranium Inc. conducted exploratory drilling.

The state health department tested the well water in the area, and found safe lead levels. The department determined the source of the lead is not the source water, according to past reports.

The EPA does not regulate domestic water wells, but offers guidance on management:

• The agency recommends all private well owners have their well tested once a year for coliform bacteria, nitrates and other contaminants.

• Naturally occurring radioactivity can be treated with reverse osmosis.

• Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated faucets and fixtures that can leach lead into the water.

No comments: