Elevated lead levels discovered in drinking water, South Elizabethton Utility customers sent letter

CARTER COUNTY, TN (WJHL)- On Friday, thousands of customers with a local utility district received a letter in the mail, warning about the findings of elevated lead levels in drinking water.

The manager at the South Elizabethton Utility District, Kevin Lenden, explained that they tested water at 20 homes back in June.

Lenden said out of the sample of 20 homes, 3 homes showed elevated lead levels, which meant the utility was considered to be in violation.

Lenden said customers received a letter Friday explaining the findings, and how people can have their homes tested.

“As far as talking to the state, this is a concern because there is lead showing up on some of these homes, however you know, I have no way of knowing if its in yours or not. If your spigot is really old, there is a good chance its leaching metal off your spigot, you might want to consider changing that out,” Lenden said.

In a news release about the elevated lead levels, Lenden listed some of the steps people can take to reduce exposure to lead in your water:

  • Run your water to flush out lead. Run water for 15-30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking, if it hasn’t been used for several hours. This flushes lead-containing water from pipes.
  • Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  • Look for alternative drinking water sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter.
  • Test your water for lead. Call us at 423-542-8588 to find out how to get your water tested for lead.
  • Get your child tested. Contact your Community Public Health Office or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure.
  • Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. 

Lenden also noted that out of the 20 homes they tested, 11 came back as “non-detects”, meaning there was no lead detected in the water.

“We had 20 samples, 11 of them came back no-detect, that’s the highest number I’ve had come back in the 20 samples as a complete no-detect, if they were below the target, that’s trace amounts and that doesn’t put you in violation, but these 3 being over the .015, did put us in violation,” Lenden said.

Lenden said for any customers who have questions, he’s posted the information inside the utility’s lobby at their office on Gap Creek Road.

Copyright WJHL 2017. All rights reserved.

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