Colleen Roberts

How to Test Lead in Water 2022 Guide

By Colleen Roberts •  Updated: 08/20/22 •  31 min read
Test Lead in Water 2022 Guide

Information Guide About Lead in Water

Drinking lead in water is very dangerous and can cause irreversible health effects, especially in children. Drinking water is one potential source of lead in homes and facilities in the USA. Our 2022 Test Lead in Water Guide will help to determine if you have a lead service line, lead pipes, fittings or other plumbing materials bringing water into your home.

Many people question lead in drinking water in the USA. Lead is found to occur in nature and as a result of human activities but in nature lead is typically not found free in it’s pure form, lead is contained in ores with other metals — the most abundant one in the Earth’s crust being galena (PbS). Natural formations of lead occurs by radioactive decay of uranium and thorium through radon (222Rn).

Four stable isotopes are known, 204Pb, 206Pb, 207Pb and 208Pb, the first three of which are used for the estimation of the age of rocks. Lead compounds exist mainly in +2 or +4 oxidation states, the former being more common.

Lead is a Heavy Metal – Can Be Found in Many Household Items

Our Test for Lead in Water 2022 Guide provides tips to reduce lead exposure, information on testing your drinking water and resources to learn more about Lead in Water in the USA.

Lead is a heavy metal that can be found in many household items, including paint, plumbing pipes, and water faucets. When these items deteriorate, they can release lead into the air, water, or soil. Exposure to lead can cause a range of health problems, from stomach upsets and constipation to anemia and learning difficulties. Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning, as their bodies are still developing. Even low levels of lead exposure can cause behavior problems, lower IQ scores, and difficulty paying attention.

Water Pipes May Contain Lead in Older Homes in British Columbia
Lead Water Service Pipes

First Steps: Lead in Your Drinking Water

If you’re concerned about lead in your water, the first step is to check for a lead service line and test your water. This guide provides clear, step-by-step instructions on how to identify a lead service line, as well as tips to reduce your exposure to lead if you do have one. It also includes information on testing your water for lead and resources for learning more about this important issue.

By following these steps, you can help protect yourself and your family from the dangers of lead exposure.

You can test for lead in water with a home test kit or by sending a sample of your water to a certified laboratory.

Water Test Kit


This Tap Score water test package provides all required materials to properly collect and submit a sample for certified laboratory testing. Reported results will include detailed, analysis of lead and copper by EPA method 200.8 (or equivalent).

Recommended for targeted testing of lead and copper in drinking water. Lead and copper are commonly found in drinking water in homes, business, or other facilities with aging pipes and fixtures.
Lead Test Kit for Testing Lead in Water

What is Lead?

Lead is a naturally occurring metal with a bluish silver hue that can enter your tap water from natural deposits or through industrial activity. Lead in homes can also come from paint, dust, soil, air and food.

How Does Lead Enter Our Drinking Water?

But mostly lead enters drinking water because of the corrosion of the water pipes delivering water to homes or from plumbing in your own home. Drinking water is a potential source of lead in homes.

Lead in Drinking Water and Old Plumbing

So, if you have old plumbing in your house (or even just bought property where there’s a possibility of lead), bear in mind that lead is toxic to humans and no amount of it is considered safe. Lead accumulation affects many of our body’s organs over time which makes its presence critical for understanding what health problems could arise due drinking water contaminated wit lead.

What are Safe Levels of Lead in Water in USA?

What are Safe Levels of Lead in Water?

In 1991, EPA published a regulation to control lead and copper in drinking water. This regulation is known as the Lead and Copper Rule also referred to as the LCR. The EPA Lead and Copper Rule has been revised several times since 1991 to strengthen the LCR.

EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) agree that there is no known safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Taking action to reduce these exposures can improve outcomes. Lead is harmful to health, especially for children.  

Under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act, EPA set the action level for lead in drinking water at 15ppb (0.015 mg/L). This means utilities must ensure that water from the customer’s tap does not exceed this level in at least 90% of the homes sampled (90th percentile value).

Consuming Lead in Drinking Water May Lead to Serious Illness

Drinking lead in drinking water is a dangerous metal that can have serious consequences for your health. It may lead to increased risk of cancer, hypertension, reproductive problems and neurological disorders as well as issues with the kidneys, immune system or bones – these are just some examples on how lead in drinking water can affect us.  The EPA has set their public goal at zero lead this toxic substance because they know what an impact eliminating drinking water sources would make across America’s communities entire nation wide.

EPA – Goal of Zero Lead in Drinking Water in the USA

The EPA has declared that they want to achieve a goal of zero lead in drinking water. They also enforce an upper limit for how much can be present; 15 parts per billion, which means water utilities must test the water regularly for lead and take action if there is lead contamination found.

Once 10% of tests show lead concentrations greater than 15 ppb, a water utility must make improvements. This is called an “action level” and means that there are high risks for public health if not properly addressed.

Exposure to Lead May Seriously Harm a Child’s Health

We should be aware that children are especially vulnerable to even low levels of lead, low level lead exposure can slow a child’s development, damage the brain and nervous system and even lead to problems with learning, behavior, hearing, and speech development in children’s developing brains (Kolassa et al., 2009).  Low levels of lead over time could also damage the nervous system which affects everything from movement to temperament!

If you have children, you might consider checking your school’s drinking water for lead.  Since there are no federal regulations requiring schools test drinking water for lead–schools remain vulnerable populations.  What’s worse, lead in water has no smell, taste or even color this leaves millions of children potentially exposed to toxic levels of lead through their water faucet if not properly maintained.

Lead Service Line Replacement

Why Would Our Home Drinking Water Contain Lead?

There are several ways that lead can enter your home drinking water. One of the most common is through “lead service lines.” Lead service lines are dangerous and if you have such pipes you should consider lead service line replacement.

Lead service lines are used to connect a home to the main water line, and lead can leach from service lines into tap water. In homes served by lead service lines, it’s likely the most significant source of lead in drinking water.

Lead can also be found in other plumbing materials and faucets. Water that has high acidity (low PH) or low mineral content (also known as aggressive water) can corrode pipes and faucets, causing lead to leach into your home drinking water, especially with the hot water lines.

If you’re concerned about lead in your drinking water, there are a few things you can do. First, you can have your water tested by a certified laboratory. You can also install a water filter that is certified to remove lead. Finally, you can avoid using hot tap water for cooking or drinking, since lead dissolves more easily in hot water. By taking these steps, you can help protect yourself and your family from lead exposure.

If your home is currently fed water by a lead service line the very best advice is get a couple estimates for the cost of lead service line replacement. Lead pipes are dangerous in homes and they really should be replaced and upgraded.

Corrosion Overview – How Lead Gets into Home Tap Water

Lead can enter drinking water when a chemical reaction occurs in plumbing materials that contain lead. This is known as corrosion – dissolving or wearing away of metal from the pipes and fixtures.

This reaction is more severe when water has high acidity or low mineral content. This is because minerals help protect pipe fixtures from corrosion.  The acidic water causes a chemical reaction that dissolves or wears away the metal pipes and fixtures. This reaction is more severe when the water has high acidity or low mineral content.

  • Amount of lead in the plumbing materials
  • Acidity or alkalinity of the water
  • Types and amounts of minerals in the water
  • Amount of lead that water is in contact with
  • Temperature of the water
  • Amount of wear in the pipes,
  • How long the water has been in contact with the plumbing materials
  • Whether or not the water is treated with chemicals to prevent corrosion
Lead Pipes in Some Homes Prior to Being Banned in 1988

What do Lead Pipes Look Like?

First of all, to really know what is going on it’s important to have your water tested for lead by an accredited water laboratory.

Lead service lines are an undetectable hazard to human health allowing lead to leach into drinking water. When water becomes in contact with lead pipes a chemical reaction occurs in the pipes that contain lead.  This reaction is known as corrosion, when that surface is a lead pipe, some of the lead dissolves into the water even when corrosion control treatment is used.

There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects. Lead service lines, and small diameter plumbing pipes providing water in older homes can be compared to lead straws causing an ongoing danger to lead exposure.

The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, water faucets, and plumbing materials & fixtures. Also, exterior pipes that transports drinking water from the water source to the home may also contain lead. A home’s plumbing fixtures, solder, and pipe fittings made prior to 1986 might also contain lead.

It’s very important to know what the service line to your house or a house that you may be purchasing is made from, it may not be made from lead but it’s still good to know.  Typical water service line materials may include lead, copper, galvanized steel, PVC and other plastic materials.

Water service lines are just the small pipes that connect water mains, the larger water pipes that normally run under or parallel to the street stopping right at a homeowner’s property line. Up until the mid 80s lead service lines were still commonly installed.

And where are all those lead service lines today? A lot of them are still in use. Finally, in 1988 the installation of new lead service lines was completely banned in 198. But there has never been a national requirement to remove lead service lines that were already in place, it’s difficult to know for sure due to lack of data but, it’s estimated there may still be 10-million lead service lines in use providing water.

Is Your Home Utilizing a Lead Service Line?

To begin with, lets review a few dates…

  1. What year was your house built?
  2. Your home is older, when was it connected to the local water utility or water well?
  3. Was your house was renovated?  Or was a new home built replacing an old house on a property that was previously serviced by the water supply?  What year was that?

This information is often easily accessible. You can search tax records, real estate listings of the property, maybe building permits that would include the year that the house was built or possibly renovated.

The first water service will most often be connected the year the original house was constructed on the property.  If the home was originally serviced by a private water well, there still may be lead pipes within the home.  If your home was not constructed until after 1988 there is likely little to be concerned about regarding lead service lines.  Also, you should be aware that not all homes built prior to 1988 have lead service lines.  Not all communities used lead service lines, some used them extensively right up until the ban on the lines in 1988.

Your city might still have lead service lines in place from the water main to the curb. The best thing to do is call your city to see what kind of records might be available to you and your neighbours.

Does Your Water Service Line Contain Lead?

How to Check Your Water Service Line for Lead

The water service line coming from the city water main into your house is normally in the basement or crawlspace if you don’t have a basement. It will usually be located at the lowest point in the house.

If you can see that the service line is a dark matte gray color, that’s usually a good indicator that you may have a lead service line in your home.

You can also gently scratch the service line with a coin or a screwdriver, if it’s lead, the metal will be soft and leave a shiny silver metal scratch in the pipe.

Copper water pipes are normally a bronze, bright or dark orange colour and are made of a very hard material. Scratching a copper pipe with a coin will leave a faint bronze coloured mark.

There are other materials that may have been used aside from lead or copper, you can also have a plastic or galvanized steel service line coming into your house. If it’s steel, a magnet would stick to it. If it’s lead or copper, a magnet will NOT stick to it to the pipe.

Important to note: Even if you don’t have a lead service line in the basement, that doesn’t mean your line is lead free. It is possible there could’ve been a partial lead service line replacement, which means part of the line under your yard could still be lead, even if some of it is copper or steel.

Always remember… it’s important to test your water for lead. Certified water filtration for lead may also be considered of there is any question.

Where Does Your Drinking Water Come From?

Rent or Own a Home in a Housing Complex

Most people in the United States get their drinking water from public water systems. These systems are required to meet federal lead regulations, but lead can still enter drinking water when service pipes that connect homes and businesses to water mains are made of lead. If you rent or own in a housing complex, you can ask your landlord/property manager for information on your water supply and what is being done to reduce lead exposure.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that landlords/property managers:

  • regular testing of lead levels in the drinking water
  • provide tenants with information on lead in drinking water
  • install and maintain lead service line replacements where necessary
  • install and maintain plumbing fixtures that do not contain lead
  • provide filters for residents who request them

By following these recommendations, landlords/property managers can help to ensure that their tenants have safe and clean drinking water.

What to Know About Lead in Well Water

Private Water Wells and Lead in Drinking Water

Over 42 million people in the United States depend on private water wells for their drinking water source, and the EPA does not regulate private water well systems. Many states and towns in the United States do not require sampling of private wells after installation, it’s the sole responsibility of the water well owner to maintain the safety of the water serving their property from a private water well.

While lead in drinking water is not typically a problem in a water well itself, you could still have lead well pump installation materials, water pipes & fittings (exterior and interior), lead solder that joins pipes, or faucets that may contain lead etc.

If you are a private water well owner, it’s important to test your water regularly for many other parameters other than lead in drinking water.  Water quality can be an issue if it is not tested or if it goes untested for a long period of time. If you suspect that there may be lead in your drinking water or other possible contaminants, it’s important to test your water.

Municipal Water Supply and Lead in Drinking Water

The first step would be to contact your water supplier and ask: Does the water utility know the locations of lead service lines in our town and is one connecting my home to the water main?

More and more, water utilities are being urged to digitize their services in order to provide their customers with better information and communication. One of the most important aspects of this is being able to predict the locations of lead service lines more cost-effectively.

What Does the Lead Copper Rule Revisions Mean and How Does it Affect Your Household?

The new revised Lead and Copper Rule in the USA is designed to protect children and communities by minimizing exposure to lead and copper in drinking water. In order to meet the new standards, utilities, treatment plants, and schools will need to make significant changes. But what does that mean for your household?

For starters, if you have lead pipes or copper pipes with lead solder, you may be required to replace them. You may also be required to install a filter or take other steps to reduce the amount of lead and copper in your water. The good news is that there are many options available, and you can work with your local water utility to find the best solution for your home.

In addition, it’s important to be aware of the potential for lead and copper exposure in your home. If you live in an older home, you may want to have your water tested regularly for lead and copper. And if you have young children, it’s especially important to take steps to reduce their exposure to lead and copper. By working together, we can all help protect our families from the dangers of lead and copper exposure.

How Can Water Utilities Locate Lead Service Lines More Cost Effectively?

This can be done by using a combination of existing inventories, geographic information systems, and predictive modeling. By doing this, residents can be made aware of water quality issues much quicker than before. Additionally, introducing a wider range of communication options (e.g. text, email, in-app notifications) allows people to choose how they want to be kept up-to-date. All in all, digitization is key for water utilities in the modern age.

You may be contacted by your local water utility about updating your communication preferences. This is so that when lead water lines are being replaced in your area, you will be able to track which lines have been replaced and which ones still need to be replaced.

Additionally, updated customer data will ensure that pre- and post-replacement lead in drinking water test kits, filter pitchers, etc. will be sent to the correct address. Having accurate customer data is important so that everyone can be on the same page and lead water line replacements can go as smoothly as possible.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your water utility company. They will be more than happy to help you out. Thanks for doing your part in ensuring a smooth process!

Water Test Kit


This Tap Score water test package provides all required materials to properly collect and submit a sample for certified laboratory testing. Reported results will include detailed, analysis of lead and copper by EPA method 200.8 (or equivalent).

Recommended for targeted testing of lead and copper in drinking water. Lead and copper are commonly found in drinking water in homes, business, or other facilities with aging pipes and fixtures.

How to Test for Lead in Drinking Water?

When testing for lead in water, you’ll need to take a sample of water from your tap. This involves making some decisions about things like sampling location and sampling method. Ultimately, there are no wrong answers. It simply comes down to what information you are most interested in knowing.

Your choice of sampling location may impact the results. For example, if you’re interested in testing the lead levels in your entire home, you’ll need to take a sample from each faucet and showerhead. However, if you’re only interested in testing the lead levels in your drinking water, you can take a sample right from the kitchen sink.

There are many different ways to collect a water sample for lead testing. The best way is the one that provides the information you’re most interested in knowing

If you’re using a lead water test kit, instructions on how to collect the sample will be included.

Where to Sample Your Home Tap Water for Lead

When it comes to testing your drinking water for lead you will first need to collect a water sample.  Generally, we would want to take a water sample from the location you drink from the most frequently. The laboratory results will provide the best representation of the water quality you consume most regularly.

Typically, this would mean at first taking a sample of the water from an unfiltered kitchen faucet.

First Test Your Unfiltered Taps Water for Lead

Due to concerns regarding lead contamination from service lines and home interior plumbing materials you should first test your unfiltered water to establish whether lead is even present in your tap water. 

There may or may not be an issue with lead in your water, but order to determine that the water from the service line needs to be tested and it needs to be unfiltered to be as accurate as possible.

Lead Water Testing and Refrigerator Filters

If water is sampled for lead contamination from a fridge dispenser as an example the very first time the fridge water test results could look significantly different than the actual unfiltered service line water coming from your kitchen tap.

If you want to test your water at multiple locations, you’ll need to order multiple water test kits for testing lead in drinking water. By testing your water regularly, you can ensure that you and your family are drinking safe, clean water.

Testing Filter Water vs Unfiltered Tap Water for Lead

But… what if you do drink most of your water from a refrigerator dispenser or other point-of-use filter?  The reported water test results for lead in your drinking water may  not be accurate  because of a water filter while your unfiltered tap water could contain more lead.

Certain NSF Certified filters can be very effective for lead reduction. Lead water filters attached to the faucet allows the water to flow through adsorption media which captures contaminants such as lead. Contaminants, such as lead, are also trapped in the filter and remain inside the filter, reducing their presence in the filtered drinking water. Search for the NSF stamp to ensure the water filter or cartridge you are purchasing is certified by NSF International to NSF/ANSI 53 or NSF/ANSI 58, and that lead in drinking water is listed on the packaged water filter as one of the contaminants that will be reduced.

Here is a  NFS Consumer Guide of water filters that are certified for drinking water and lead reduction.

Remember not all water filters are NSF Certified and should not be relied upon for the reduction of lead in water.  If you do have an inline refrigerator filter installed it may or may not be certified by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) for lead reduction in drinking water.

Test Your Unfiltered Water Service Line First

Where they are present, lead service lines (LSL), which connect the water main to a building with indoor or household plumbing remain the largest contributor to lead in drinking water in homes.

Filtration of tap drinking water through point-of-use (POU) water treatment devices has gained acceptance and popularity, in part due to concerns regarding lead contamination from service lines and interior plumbing materials.

Interior lead containing plumbing materials, including brass fixtures and fittings, lead solder, flux, water meters, lead goosenecks, and galvanized steel pipes, if present in a plumbing system can also release large amounts of lead to drinking water.

Testing your unfiltered water source will give you a baseline of your water quality by determining whether lead is present in your water or not.

Only qualified laboratory testing can reliably confirm the amount of lead in drinking water. Home test kits may not provide an accurate measurement of water quality.

Sampling – How to Test for Lead in Water

There are two common methods of collecting water samples when testing your water for lead:

  • First Draw
  • Fully Flushed

Basically, the main difference between these two water sample collection methods is the length of time the water has been sitting in the pipes prior to collecting a water sample.

First Draw Water Sample for Lead in Water

Take first draw samples from fixtures throughout the home that are used for human consumption. The Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends that we collect these water samples from all water taps used for drinking or cooking, prioritizing the high-risk outlets (i.e., fixtures that are known to or potentially contain lead and fixtures that are used most frequently).

The plumbing profile of your home or building will help pinpoint those high-risk fixtures and to prioritize sample collection for lead testing in water.

If you collect a first draw sample, a first draw samples means that you are collecting water that has been sitting in the pipes for some period, anywhere from an 8 to 18-hour stagnation-period so the water has had time to possibly collect contaminants. Water that may be consumed at the beginning of the day or after infrequent use in your home.

A first draw water sample is best collected first thing in the morning, before any water throughout the home or building is used.

First draw sampling can be useful for testing for certain types of contaminants, such as lead or copper.  However, it’s important to note that a first draw sample may not be representative of the water quality throughout the entire system.

Fully Flushed Water Sample – How to Take a Sample for Lead Comparison

If you’re collecting a sample for general testing, a fully flushed sample is the way to go.  A fully flushed water sample is a sample that has been collected after the tap has been run for about 5 minutes.  By running the tap (or flushing the water line), any stagnant water that has been sitting in the pipes is cleared out. The water that is collected after this 5-minute period will give you a better idea of the water quality, as it comes directly from the source.

This method is frequently used by those on a private well who are concerned about the source water quality. However, the fully flushed method is also sometimes recommended for specific contaminants. For example, if you are concerned about lead in your water, flushing your pipes for 5 minutes before collecting a sample will help to clear out any lead that may have built up in your plumbing.

Ultimately, flushing your pipes before collecting a sample is a good way to get a more accurate picture of your water quality but would NOT be the best method to reveal if there is lead leaching into your water from the service pipe or fittings.

Dos and Don’ts of Sampling for Lead in Water

Lead Water Sampling – Dos:

1 – Follow the instructions provided by the laboratory that will come with your water test kit for lead. It’s important to handle water sample containers correctly to ensure optimum water testing results.

2 – Assign a unique sample identification number or name to each sample collected. If you are summitting numerous water samples use a coding system to help differentiate samples, and don’t forget to complete the label for each sample bottle.

3 – If you are testing water for lead in a facility or large building collect all water samples before the facility opens and before any water is used. The water should sit in the pipes unused for at least 8 hours but not more than 18 hours before a sample is taken.  If you are testing your home water for lead this remains good advice for water testing at home.

4 – Cold water must be collected for all samples.

5 – Learn how water flows in your facility. If there are multiple floors, it is typically recommended to sample from the bottom floor and continue up. Start sampling closest to the main and work away.

If you are testing your home water for lead contamination, take a sample from the location most used in your home for drinking water that is NOT filtered.

6 – Take a photo of the faucet or outlet sampled

Don’t Remove Aerators Prior to Sampling

Lead Water Sampling – Don’ts

1 – Don’t remove aerators prior to sampling. Potential sources of lead may be missed if aerators are removed, since debris could be contributing to the lead in drinking water if particles containing lead are trapped behind aerator screens

2 – Do not flush the sample site for any length of time immediately prior to the sampling period of inactivity. Flushing can be a tool to improve water quality, especially after long holidays or weekends. However, flushing prior to sampling may cause the lead results to show lower-than the actual representative lead levels in the water.

3 – Don’t close shut-off valves to prevent their use prior to sample collection. Tiny bits of metal scrapings from the valves may cause the report to indicate higher-than-representative lead levels in the water.

Locations for Collecting Water Samples for Lead

Water samples for lead water testing should be drawn from potable drinking water locations before any water is used for at least 8 hours.

Potable water locations would include hydration stations, hallway drinking fountains including coolers and bubblers, classroom faucets, classroom drinking fountains (bubblers), sinks used for teeth brushing, main kitchen tap, plumbed coffee machines, kitchen ice machines, and kitchen food preparation and rinse sinks.

It’s best to not collect water samples from bathroom hand wash sinks, kitchen hand sprayers, slop sinks, and other designated hand wash sinks such as those in kitchens when possible.

Chain of Custody – Test Drinking Water for Lead

A critical activity within any data collection phase involving physical water samples is the handling of sample media prior to sampling, handling/transporting sample media to the field, handling water samples from the field at the time of collection, storage of samples (at home, field or other locations), the transportation of samples from the field site, and the analysis of the samples.

Proper documentation of these activities is essential to create a custody record, which tracks samples through sample collection, processing, and analysis. Chain of Custody records document the chain of custody for each water sample, ensuring that the integrity of the sample is maintained throughout the entire process. By following proper procedures for sample media handling, we can be confident that our data will be accurate and reliable.

Without a complete and accurate chain of custody record, it would be difficult to determine if mistakes had been made in sample handling, which could lead to inaccurate data. The custody record plays a vital role in ensuring the accuracy and quality of data collected from physical samples.

Documentation Required for Lead Water Sample

Record the unique sample identification number, date, and time on each sample bottle.

The Chain of Custody form may include the following information:

  • Type of sample taken (e.g., initial first draw)
  • Date and time of collection
  • Name of the sample collector
  • Unique sample identification number
  • Location of the sample site
  • Water treatment already in place in the building or point-of-use (POU) water filter devices
  • Aerator or screen on the outlet if applicable
  • Any observations that may impact the samples results should be recorded on a sampling field notes form. For example, leaking faucets or drinking water fountains, discolored water, low water pressure, etc.
  • Photo of the outlet.

Glossary of Terms for Lead in Water?

Aerator: An aerator, also known as a “screen,” is a small metal or plastic mesh screen that is attached to the fixture valve of a tap or drinking water fountain. The purpose of an aerator is to improve water flow out of the tap or fountain.  Aerators also collect sediment and lead particulate.

When these materials build up in the fixture valve, they can cause reduced water pressure and decreased water flow and possibly increase the level of lead in drinking water.

By attaching an aerator to the water faucet, you can help to improve the performance of your tap or fountain. In addition, regular cleaning of the aerator screen will help to prevent the build-up of sediment and lead particulate.

Drinking Water Fountain: A drinking water fountain, also known as a water cooler or a water fountain, is a fixture that dispenses water for drinking. There are different types of drinking water fountains, including those with central chillers, bottled water fillers, and water coolers. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Faucet: The word “faucet” is derived from the Old French word “faucet”, which means “tap”. A faucet is a plumbing fixture that provides a flow of hot and cold water for various consumptive uses. Faucets are usually attached to a sink or tub fixture and controlled by a handle or lever. The term “faucet” is used interchangeably with the term “tap.”

 First-Draw Samples: These are the samples taken immediately after turning on the faucet or valve, without spilling, if possible. These samples represent the lead content of water sitting in water outlets that are used for drinking or cooking within the building(s).

Flush Samples: These samples are taken after water has been running from the fixture for some pre-determined length of time. They can be used to determine if lead is coming from the fixture itself or from interior plumbing.

Lead-free: Per the Reduction in Lead Drinking Water Act of 2011: not containing more than 0.2 percent lead when used with respect to solder and flux; and not more than a weighted average of 0.25 percent lead when used with respect to the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures.

Use Lead Free Pipes, Fittings, Fixtures, Solder, and Flux for Drinking Water.

Sediment: If you have ever seen a glass of water with dirt or sand at the bottom, that is sediment. It is common for small particles to become suspended in water as it moves through pipes.

Over time, these particles will settle out of the water and collect at the bottom of the piping. This can happen even with clean water but is more likely to occur if the water contains minerals or other contaminants.

If lead is present in the water, it can also form sediments. Lead sediments can result in elevated water lead levels and pose a health risk. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your plumbing materials are lead-free and to regularly check for sediment build-up in your pipes.

Sequential Samples: Water samples collected at the fixture, one after another, without flushing beforehand or wasting water in between samples.

Water Cooler: A mechanical device affixed to drinking water supply plumbing that actively cools water for human consumption. The reservoir can consist of a small tank or a pipe coil.

Home Water Test


Lead Drinking Water Test Kit for Municipal Tap or Well Water – Simple Testing Strips for Lead Copper Bacteria, Nitrates, Chlorine and More. If you just want a simple water testing solution these kits are great.

Delivering Progress on the Biden-⁠Harris Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan

EPA Links for More Information About Lead in Water

General Information About Lead in Water

How Lead Gets Into Drinking Water
Health Effects of Being Exposed to Lead in Drinking Water
Is it Safe to Shower in Lead Contaminated Tap Water?

What Am I Able to Do?

Learn More About Water Coming Into Your Home
Steps You Can Take to Reduce Lead in Your Water
Find Out if You Have Lead Pipes in Your Home
Test Your Children for Lead Levels in Their Blood
Find Out if Lead Has Been an Issue in Your Children’s School

Drinking Water Requirements for Lead in Water

EPA Drinking Water Regulations for Lead
EPA Protection Requirements for Public Water Systems

Lead In Canadian Drinking Water

Lead in Drinking Water in British Columbia

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