Pittsburgh has recently launched a new program for residents that includes lead testing. If you’re a customer of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, you are eligible for free water testing. If requested, you will receive a sample bottle with simple instructions. An examination of 103 homes revealed non-detectible levels of lead and some had very low levels, but others were more concerning. Tests show that while water leaving the treatment plant is lead-free; it can pick up lead from the plumbing in older homes. There are a variety of tests to reveal whether your home has lead in the pipelines. You can find out with a swab test. If the swab turns pink, that means lead has been detected. The expensive way to deal with the problem would be replacing the lead service line and the soldered joints. The less expensive option is a water filter either one attached to your primary faucet or near the water meter that would filter the water for the entire house. The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority realizes that lead testing is a priority so testing will be conducted from businesses, schools and homes. An at home kit to test for lead is currently being offered free of charge.
Tip: Lead service lines are generally a dull gray color and are very soft. You can identify them easily by carefully scratching with a key. If the pipelines are made of lead, the area you’ve scratched will turn a bright silver color. Do not use a knife or other sharp instrument and take care not to puncture a hole in the pipe. Lead service lines often end just inside the front or side wall of the home, but may extend further into the building.