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Three Shoals homes have elevated lead levels in drinking water

Some 3,000 customers are being sent notices.

Posted: Sep 12, 2019 5:42 PM
Updated: Sep 12, 2019 7:11 PM

Some 3,000 customers of the East Lauderdale Water Authority are currently getting notices after three homes had elevated levels of lead in their water.

The water authority services the communities of Greenhill, Rogersville and Lexington. Their customer base is spread out and extends east of Highway 43 to the Tennessee state line and to the Limestone County line.

"As a community, we are very concerned for our young children," said Cyndi Taylor.

According to the CDC, if kids are exposed to lead in their drinking water, it can cause learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

Taylor watches after dozens of kids at her daycare in Killen. She said they want to be on the safe side, after elevated levels of lead were found in three customers' drinking water of the East Lauderdale Water Authority.

"Even though I'm actually on Florence's water, I took precautions as well. I alerted our parents immediately and I've purchased bottled water for the kids to drink," said Taylor.

WAAY 31 sat down with Ronnie Woodard, the general manager of the East Lauderdale Water Authority. He said high lead levels have not been detected in their water source, but became elevated after going through lead and copper pipes in the three homes. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management said the same thing.

"It is related to the plumbing that's in these residences, but we are required to make sure that our water is not aggressive to that plumbing that they choose or maybe they have no choice, but that is what is present in their home," said Woodard.

ADEM said in a press release that some 20 homes' drinking water was sampled. Three of those tests came back with elevated levels, but once tested again, only one home still had the high level of lead.

Woodard said they're working on a plan to adjust chemicals in the water to get in compliance with ADEM and EPA standards.

"We just have to control the PH or maybe add something to the water to create a barrier where this lead and copper that's in their plumbing will not leech into their pipes when it's sitting in the pipes," said Woodard.

ADEM and Woodard both said if customers are concerned, they can flush their pipes by letting the water run on cold until you feel a temperature change or warm up.

"We don't want them to freak out, because, once again, our source water has shown no levels of lead in it," said Woodard.

ADEM said bathing or showering is safe regardless and boiling water does not remove lead. Woodard and ADEM are working closely together to fix the issues in these homes.

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