How much lead does your city’s drinking water contain?

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Utah) – State regulators are keeping tabs on three areas of Utah, after finding high levels of lead in the drinking water. 
 
Those areas include the small communities of Garland and Liberty, but the worst results came from Roy.
 
As part of a routine tap water screening, the city tested 30 homes for lead.  That happened back in September, and now that the results are in, the Utah Department of Environmental Quality and Utah Division of Drinking Water have flagged Roy with concerns.
 
“Lead affects childhood development and brain function,” said John Bjerregaard, with Wasatch Civil Consulting Engineering, Roy City’s group of contracted engineers.
 
Bjerregaard says the engineers took the results very seriously when they showed double, triple, even quadruple the acceptable amount of lead in 5 of the 30 randomly tested homes. 
 
“It’s a concern,” Bjerregaard said. 
 
One of those homes is the one Ashley Wadley and her family of seven just moved into.
 
“We closed on the deal last Thursday, and we moved in on Saturday,” she said. 
 
Wadley says the former homeowner never mentioned that the house’s tap water was flagged for high levels of lead.  Unfortunately, Good 4 Utah’s Ali Monsen was the one to break the news to her.
 
“That’s crazy…” Wadley said while looking over the sample results.  “I do have kids, and they drink the tap water and use it, obviously, to cook.  That’s a big deal,” she said. 
 
Experts say in most cases water sources and systems are not to blame.  They say culprits are most-often houses’ plumbing systems. 
 
“Lead was used in plumbing in older homes,” Bjerregaard explained.
 
The good news is that Roy City has since done follow-up testing on all five flagged homes and in every case, including Wadley’s,  the samples showed normal lead levels.  Officials say the reason why remains a mystery.
 
“There’s been no changes in the Roy City water sources… We think those high samples were an anomaly, perhaps, with sampling or testing,” Bjerregaard said. 
 
The Utah Department of Environmental Quality and Utah Division of Drinking Water recently posted results for all of Utah online.  Despite the follow-up tests, Roy shows the highest reported levels with Garland and Liberty following. 
 
For now, state officials are not taking any action, though Wadley is rethinking last week’s move.
 
“I feel like we should’ve been told,” she said. 
 
In the past, Roy City has tested its water every three years, but from now on, officials say they will be doing it annually.   The next sampling is scheduled for this summer.  
 
To see if lead was found in your city’s drinking water, click here.  Note that any levels higher than 15 parts per billion (0.015) are typically flagged.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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