Galvanized pipes are now linked to lead exposure
Posted on Oct.20, 2013 by Chase Thompson

Many homes that were built before 1960 have galvanized supply lines. A lot of these homes have had the plumbing updated and no longer have the galvanized piping. Recent studies have shown that galvanized piping, especially when aged can break down and contaminate the potable water supply. 

Galvanized Lines and How to spot them

A galvanized supply line is made from steel that is coated with a protective layer of zinc. When galvanized lines become old they start to break down from the inside of the pipe which can cause lead to accumulate over time.

Galvanized plumbing looks a lot like a gas line and usually is fairly dark in color due to age. New galvanized lines will usually be grey in color. The ends of the pipes screw into the threaded fittings which makes a watertight connection. Most of the homes that still have galvanized lines will have poor water pressure.

Appropriate Response

If you live or own a home that has galvanized piping you may want to consider replacing the sections that are easily accessible. Unfortunately, most homes will have galvanized water lines coming off the street. All homes in Kansas City with galvanized piping will have to be replaced at some point, most will be within the next 20 years. Supply lines may also be difficult to access from being hidden behind a finished wall, floor, or tile. The best time to replace this area is when you are remodeling or making updates.

If you have a lead service line and are unable to spend the money to have it replaced, consider adding a whole house filter that is designed to remove lead. After the plumber installs a filter have them run a new line to the kitchen where water is consumed.

In October of 2009 a study conducted by HDR Engineering was presented to DC Water to determine the relationship of lead and galvanized lines in our drinking water.

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