Potential sources of lead in campus drinking water are the following: lead pipe, lead solder and leaded brass fittings. Lead pipe and lead solder were banned in 1986 by amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act has reduced the acceptable levels of lead in “lead-free” pipes, fittings, and fixtures from 8.0% to 0.25% as of January 4, 2014.
The EPA Lead and Copper Rule also requires public water utilities such as Kentucky American Water Company (KAW, the water utility for Lexington-Fayette) to include corrosion control in their water treatment protocol sufficient to prevent lead leaching from pipes, solder or fittings. The rule requires KAW to test a representative sample of buildings periodically, to prove they are in compliance. KAW has passed all Lead and Copper Rule tests.
While there could be older pipes or fixtures within specific campus buildings that contain lead, periodic flushing of water systems plus corrosion control treatment techniques mean that lead levels above the EPA action level of 15 parts per billion are highly unlikely.
For additional information on lead in drinking water, please refer to KAW's "Frequently Asked Questions on Water Quality". KAW or the UK Environmental Management Department can perform drinking water testing if a justifiable request is received.
UK Health & Safety (UKHS) is responsible for the safety of all other uses of lead on-campus. UKHS performs periodic air and surface wipe sampling during these processes, and ensures that affected persons are trained on the safe use of these products. Examples:
- Exposure to lead fumes or surface lead contamination from discharge of ammunition during practice/training (UK Rifle personnel, UKPD);
- Use of lead solder in electronics assembly and repair;
- Use and manipulation of lead bricks and shields in areas where radionuclides are used;
- Use of elemental lead and inorganic or organic lead compounds in laboratories or the arts.