If Your Private Well Has Been Flooded…

by Catherine Magliocchetti

EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region is home to millions of residents who rely upon private wells for their drinking water supply.  As local conditions and weather may present the prospect of moderate and major flood conditions for many of our communities, owners of private wells are reminded to take the following actions:

If a well has been flooded (i.e., if flood waters have surrounded and/or submerged your well head):

  1. Do not drink or wash with the water until the well has been serviced, disinfected and confirmed safe.
  2. Avoid electrical shock – stay away from the well pump and turn off the well pump circuit breaker.
  3. Contact your local health department or other local officials for recommendations on how to test and confirm that flood hazards have been resolved.  Local government offices can often assist homeowners in finding certified laboratory resources, especially for bacterial testing, which is anticipated following flood events.  Local officials may also be able to advise if other parameters should be investigated, following a flood event (e.g., agricultural areas may want to test for the presence of fertilizers or pesticides.
  4. Seek a qualified well contractor or pump installer to assist with the following:
  • Clean, dry and re-establish electrical service to the pump.
  • Disinfect and flush the well to remove any contamination that entered during the flood.
  • Perform any other necessary maintenance so that your well pump can return to service.  Note that excess sediment in water can cause pump damage and even failure, so use of professional contractors is recommended for assessment and correction of pump function.

As a private well owner, you likely also have an on-lot septic system, which may also have been impacted by flood waters.  Keep in mind that flood events will impact your septic drainfield, and could also potentially damage pumps or other parts of your septic system.

Faulty septic systems and drainfields can negatively impact your well water quality down the road, so have your septic system evaluated by a professional following a flood, to ensure normal operation has returned.

For more information, watch this video on well flooding from the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).

 

About the Author: Cathy Magliocchetti has been with EPA Region III for more than two decades.  She currently works on wellhead and source protection of drinking water.   She is a certified Penn State Master Well Owner and a member of her local environmental advisory council.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Invertebrate Investigators

by Jon Markovich

In the previous Healthy Waters blog, my colleague Micka Peck wrote about the stream sampling we did for benthic macroinvertebrates. Pulling on a pair of waders and kicking around in the stream sampling was only half the fun.  After the outdoor fieldwork, I changed wardrobe from field gear to lab coat. Ok, I didn’t really wear a lab coat, but I was in a lab processing the preserved macroinvertebrates for later identification.

It’s been established that macroinvertebrates are good indicators of water quality conditions. Identifying which macroinvertebrates are present in a stream sample provides a link to determining whether a stream has good water quality and supports a healthy aquatic community.

One sample collected from a stream can have hundreds, even thousands, of macroinvertebrates. Thankfully, my target was to process a small sub-sample – around 200 individuals. This involves spreading the entire sample onto a gridded pan, randomly selecting a grid and removing all materials within it, and “picking” through the leaves, dirt, gravel, and other debris to separate out macroinvertebrates. At times, it felt as though I was playing a game of “Where’s Waldo?” In this case, “Waldo” could have no tails, two tails, or three tails, gills or no gills, or a whole number of different features. Sorting through these samples is no joke – it takes serious skill to quickly pick out bugs from non-bug debris. But after they’ve been picked from the sub-samples, the macroinvertebrates are identified under a microscope.

Looking under the scope, I marveled at these creatures. The different features and shapes of each bug were jaw-dropping. One bug, a burrowing mayfly in the family Ephemeridae, has protruding tusks on the side of its mouth like an elephant. The tusks help this family of mayfly to burrow into soft sediment to feed. Another bug, a dragonfly in the family Aeshnidae, had a hinged-mouth that extended to be nearly half the length of its body! Dragonfly larvae are predatory and this super-extendable mouthpart allows them to quickly snap up prey. These kinds of distinguishing features and characteristics are what scientists look at under the microscope for macroinvertebrate identification.

Although they look way cooler under a microscope, you don’t need one to see macroinvertebrates. If you have the chance, go check out your local stream, flip over rocks and search the stream bottom. You too could become an invertebrate investigator!

 

About the Author: Jon Markovich joined EPA’s Water Protection Division in 2014 and works in the impaired waters and Total Maximum Daily Load programs. In his spare time, Jon enjoys hiking, kayaking and camping in the Mid-Atlantic Region’s many great state parks.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Stream Critters Reveal Much About Water Quality

by Micka Peck

I was never a huge ‘bug person’ as a kid. It wasn’t that I bolted in terror at the sight of anything crawling my direction, but I didn’t greet a dangling spider with much enthusiasm either. My little brother, on the other hand, loved running through fields of tall grass in search of massive grasshoppers and butterflies. So, it may have come as a surprise to my family when a colleague and I eagerly set off to West Virginia in search of benthic macroinvertebrates, or the bottom-dwelling stream critters that lack backbones and are visible to the naked eye. Think insects, crayfish, worms, mussels, etc.

A couple of things piqued my interest about these creatures. I had learned that benthic macroinvertebrates are a crucial indicator for understanding water quality. While a single “grab sample” from a stream can tell you something about its water quality at that moment, macroinvertebrates are exposed to a range of conditions throughout their life stages in water. Therefore, they more accurately represent long-term conditions of water quality. Some macroinvertebrates are very sensitive to pollutants and as the water quality worsens, are less prevalent. All of our Region 3 states rely on macroinvertebrates to assess whether a waterbody is supporting aquatic life, so I thought I should go see what all the fuss was about.

We arrived at the stream bank in waders toting buckets, scrub brushes, and a large net. After surveying the stream, we chose a few spots with fast moving water and a variety of rocks and cobble, which are popular habitats due to their shelter from predators. With the net placed on the streambed facing upstream, I grabbed the scrub brush, brushed the rocks and let any attached macroinvertebrates float into the net. Next, I kicked the rocks in front of the net to stir up any macroinvertebrates hiding underneath and let the water guide them into the net. At times, it looked like I was dancing the twist in the middle of the stream. Then, I dumped the contents in the net into a bucket and marveled at the bounty. It was teeming with crayfish, scuds, larvae of mayflies, stoneflies, dragonflies, and so much more. And now, rather than feeling ambivalent, I’m filled with a sense of childish wonder at the many surprises a stream may hold.

Stay tuned for Part 2 – in the lab!

 

About the Author: Micka Peck is a physical scientist in EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Region working on improving impaired waters through total maximum daily loads (TMDLs), or water quality improvement plans.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

A Record Investment

by Tom Damm

 3…2…1…  On cue, EPA, state and local officials dug their shovels into the softened dirt to formally kick off major upgrades to the wastewater treatment plant in Reading, Pennsylvania.

There was reason to be all smiles as the battery of professional and smart phone cameras captured the moment.  The improvements will contribute to local economic growth and lead to cleaner plant discharges to the Schuylkill River, where concerted efforts along the waterway are improving a drinking water source for more than 1.5 million people.

For EPA, it was the largest amount of water infrastructure funding ever applied to a single project in the Mid-Atlantic region – nearly $150 million – a fact that EPA Acting Regional Administrator Cecil Rodrigues shared with the audience at the groundbreaking ceremony.

The record sum of low-interest financing from EPA’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) was provided to Reading through actions of the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority, or PENNVEST.

Coincidentally, the day before the event, the PENNVEST board approved a series of projects that brought the collective total of its infrastructure investment efforts to more than $8 billion over nearly three decades.   The CWSRF and EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund together supplied about half of that total.

The upgrades to the Fritz Island plant will allow for growth in the system that now treats sewage for about 200,000 residents in Reading and a dozen suburban communities.  By taking advantage of the 1 percent CWSRF rate compared to current market rates for bonds, Reading is expected to save almost $2.5 million over 20 years.

The plant upgrades are targeted for completion by late 2019 when officials will trade their shiny, ceremonial shovels for sets of oversized scissors.

You can learn more here about the CWSRF and the projects financed in your area.  And check out this link for information on a major boost in funding just approved for EPA’s Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Progress – Story by Story

by Amanda Pruzinsky

Our EPA region does a lot of work with partners to improve water quality.  We’re capturing examples of those actions in an online series.

The stories illustrate how EPA – working with states, cities, utilities, non-profit groups and businesses – helps people and communities throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.

The stories are available through an interactive map with the content and location of each story.  You can click on an individual water droplet for a story happening in a particular area.  Or you can access all of the stories we have to date for a given state.

In the series, you’ll find a story about an EPA-funded project in West Virginia to resolve conditions caused by failing or non-existent septic systems.  While you’re on that page, learn about the rebirth of the Cheat River, a haven for outdoors enthusiasts and those who enjoy fishing.

Among other stories, you can check out the recovery of a river scarred by acid mine drainage in Pennsylvania, a recycled water project in Virginia, an urban farm in the District of Columbia, and a 60 percent reduction in contaminants in Delaware’s Mirror Lake.

The stories showcase the variety of ways EPA is making a difference – from improvements to the Chesapeake Bay through wastewater treatment plant upgrades to green street initiatives that reduce stormwater and transform communities.

Take some time to browse the map and check back for the latest updates.

 

About the Author: Amanda Pruzinsky is a physical scientist for the Water Protection Division in EPA’s mid-Atlantic region working to support all of the water programs with a focus on data management, analysis, and communication.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

A Scent of Spring Awaits

by Jeff Lapp

Sarracenia flava

Preparations are almost complete for the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show, March 11-19!

Whether the show team at EPA is ready or not, the time for set-up is once again upon us.  The official day to begin construction of our display is March 6, however, plants have been forced for weeks and the show design and construction is nearing the end.

The theme for this year’s show is Holland and celebrating the multitude of contributions which that country has given to the horticultural industry.  EPA’s display, “America: Land of Flowers” will focus on the wonderful palette of native flora which thrive right here in our own backyards.  Many of these were exported abroad and returned to us with bigger and brighter flowers, but underneath they are still ancestors of the region’s rich diversity of native plants.

The weather in the past week or so has whetted our appetites for spring.  The Philadelphia Flower Show will cure our need for flowers and the scent of a season quickly knocking on our door step.

If you are in the area, please stop by the EPA display at the show and share in our celebration of native species, the unique habitats they create, the water savings and runoff protection they provide, and the important ecological role they fill.

 

About the author: Jeff Lapp is a Wetlands Scientist who has been working in the Mid-Atlantic region since 1989 and has been designing and forcing for the show since 1991.  He is an avid botanist and grows many native plants, specializing in our native pitcher plants, at his home in Bucks County.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Day of Service Along the Delaware River

by Tom Damm

Signing up for the clean up

Signing up for the cleanup

Actions of all sizes are helping to restore the Delaware River and its surrounding areas.

There are broad steps, like the recently approved Delaware River Basin Conservation Act that will help coordinate and advance protection activities.

And there are more focused ones, like this week’s trash cleanup at the Bristol Marsh in Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania.

On Monday morning – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service – a dozen EPA employees, plus family and friends joined other volunteers, mainly high school and middle school students, to spruce up this critical resource along the main stem of the Delaware River.

With trash bags in hand, the nearly 90 volunteers – almost double the expected number – combed the marsh for discarded items.

Small sample of the junk pulled from the marsh

Small sample of the junk pulled from the marsh

Along with the commonplace bottles, cans and paper litter, we had some unusual finds: a buoy, a One Way sign, flip flops, even a bedframe, unearthed as if it were an archeological discovery.

The effort to give the marsh a clean slate, organized by the Nature Conservancy and the Heritage Conservancy, was well worth it considering all the marsh returns for the favor.

The freshwater tidal marsh, a wetland rarely found in Pennsylvania, supports a wide variety of plants, birds and animals.  It also provides spawning and nursery areas for fish and improves water quality by filtering pollutants and adding oxygen.

The marsh promotes recreational activities like bird watching, nature study and fishing and protects the riverfront from the impacts of flooding and stormwater pollution while trapping trash that floats in from the Delaware.

Hauling out a tire

Hauling out a tire

A range of efforts – some that will take many years, others just a few hours on a holiday morning – are making a difference for the Delaware and its 13,600-square-foot basin that provides drinking water for more than 15 million people and contributes billions of dollars to the regional economy.

From major new initiatives to the removal of societal junk from Bristol Marsh, many hands are at work in the cleanup.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Safer Choice is a Great Choice for Clean Water

by Krsafe choice logoistian Blessington

Growing up in Florida, surrounded by water, I’ve always enjoyed the many recreational opportunities on its lakes, rivers, springs, and beaches. Spending so much time in such beautiful and pristine surroundings instilled in me an appreciation for the natural environment, as well as a sense of its fragility and need for its preservation.

These feelings persist, perhaps even more strongly, since I’ve joined EPA and now pursue my love of outdoor activities in the Mid-Atlantic. They inspire my work with the Safer Choice program, and our efforts to prevent pollution of our nation’s water bodies through the promotion of sustainable products.

Safer Choice is EPA’s label for cleaning and other products made with safer chemical ingredients. Leveraging our Agency’s more than 40 years of experience assessing the human and environmental safety of chemicals, more than 2,000 products we all use every day qualify to carry the Safer Choice label, such as multi-purpose cleaners, hand soaps, car and boat care products, floor cleaners, pet care products, and many more. Safer Choice-labeled products contain ingredients that are safer for aquatic life and the environment and for your family, community, and pets.

To be eligible for the label, a product must meet the Safer Choice Standard, which is green chemistry-focused and grounded in stringent human health and environmental criteria.  Safer Choice evaluates all intentionally added ingredients in a product, regardless of percentage. That means Safer Choice-labeled products contain only the safest possible ingredients, while still meeting performance requirements.  Importantly, for products intended for use outdoors (bypassing the drain and sewage treatment, directly entering the environment), such as car and boat cleaners, Safer Choice has a higher bar to provide aquatic life with an extra margin of protection.

And there’s even more good news for our waterways. Labeled products are made with ingredients that, once they enter the local watershed, will break down more quickly through natural processes. The result: less pollution in streams, less contamination of the food chain, reduced impacts on water treatment facilities compared to conventional products, and less damage to the ecosystem.  This is something anglers, boaters, and beach-goes will appreciate.

For more information on the U.S. EPA Safer Choice Program and to find Safer Choice-labeled products.

 

About the Author: Kristian has been with EPA since 2016. He works in the Safer Choice program on outreach and program support initiatives. He previously worked with state and local governments in Florida on community health assessments and health education initiatives. He lives in DC, and is an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

Leaving a Clean Water Legacy

by Tom Damm

Jon Capacasa

Jon Capacasa

As you approached Jon Capacasa’s office, the first thing you noticed were the articles, notes and other tidbits of progress and encouragement taped to his door, centered with the words, “Celebrate! Celebrate!”

During Jon’s more than 42-year career at EPA, including the past 13 years as director of the Mid-Atlantic Region’s Water Protection Division, there was much to celebrate in his commitment to clean water.

Jon retired this week having served as a leading figure in the major initiatives and innovative actions that distinguished the region in improving water resources and public health.

His biggest impact was on the Chesapeake Bay – from the time on a Sunday in 1990 when he was called at home and asked to serve as the Bay’s Special Assistant to the Regional Administrator.

From there, he helped to start the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, served for a year as its first acting director and then nine years as its deputy director, guided the planning and drafting of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement, and had a chief role in developing and implementing the landmark Chesapeake Bay TMDL, or “pollution diet.”

Along the way, Jon issued a nutrient permitting approach that helped the wastewater sector achieve its Bay pollution goals 10 years ahead of schedule – topping the list of positive signs of Bay progress that include sharp increases in bay grasses, blue crabs and oysters, a majority of cleaner running rivers and a shrinking “dead zone.”

But Jon’s career has involved far more than the Bay.

Among his hallmark achievements, Jon co-founded the Schuylkill Action Network and helped form other key partnerships to protect source waters, established three of the top five penalty actions in Clean Water Act history, led efforts to restore streams and rivers – from the Delaware to the “forgotten” Anacostia, drove new technologies, and was a pioneer in the green infrastructure movement to control stormwater pollution and improve communities.

Jon is quick to acknowledge the team effort involved in his work, taking pride in the positive reinforcement he provides to staff to achieve incremental success and “turn great ideas into reality.”

The office items Jon packed up over the past few days are a reflection of his career as well as his approach to the job and life in general.  Among them were:

  • A framed copy of the Bay TMDL cover with a pen used to sign it.
  • Photos of his family and one of Roberto Clemente, a boyhood baseball hero, whose creativity, excellence and low-key manner served as an inspiration.
  • A host of plaques and awards.
  • An “Easy” button that was rarely pressed considering the tough decisions he was involved in on a seemingly daily basis.

As he steps away from what he called “the greatest mission in the world” to relish more time with his family and do some teaching and traveling, his legacy of clean water will continue on at EPA, as will his impact on the lives of people across the region.

 

About the Author: Tom Damm has been with EPA since 2002 and now serves as communications coordinator for the region’s Water Protection Division.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

How Interesting Can a Pipe Really Be?

by Hannah Braun

Photo credit: Eric Vance, EPA

Photo credit: Eric Vance, EPA

Your car slows to a crawl and red lights illuminate the orange construction cones ahead. “How long is this going to take,” you think to yourself in the exhausted manner that construction traffic brings to all of us.  As you pass, you notice the other lane has turned into a collapsed hole of exposed piping and wonder what is being done.

That construction could be for drinking water infrastructure improvements – a topic much on our minds last week as we marked the anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act.  EPA’s recently-published Drinking Water Action Plan placed infrastructure financing and maintenance in disadvantaged communities – including projects like the replacement of lead pipes – as the first of six “Priority Areas.”

One way people can be exposed to lead is through the service line, which is the pipe that connects the home to the water main in the street.  Some service line pipes made of lead can corrode and leach into water.  Localities like Washington, D.C. encourage people to find out if their service lines contain lead. Check out what I discovered when I looked up the service line to one of EPA’s Federal Triangle buildings.

In many jurisdictions, some or all of the service lines are the homeowners’ or landlords’ responsibility.  According to an evaluation by the EPA Science Advisory Board replacing private service lines in addition to the public ones is the optimal solution.

Not all towns in the Mid-Atlantic have websites like Washington, D.C.’s. We encourage you to investigate your service line composition and consider replacing it with lead-free plumbing if it is made of lead.  If replacement isn’t feasible, in the short-term, consider other options such as testing, flushing and filtering the water lines.  Feel free to comment with your findings below to share with your fellow citizens.

The next time you see construction ripping up the street or sidewalk causing congestion and inconvenience, take a deep breath – maybe the drinking water infrastructure is being improved.

 

About the Author Hannah Braun is an Environmental Protection Specialist in the Chemical Control Division in Washington, D.C. where her daily tasks include upholding the Toxic Substance Control Act and improving chemical transparency between industry, the EPA and the public.

 

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.