Flush. Clean. Consume Cold.
Flush, Clean and Consume Cold are daily actions all customers should take to ensure the highest quality of water is coming out of your tap, especially if there is the possibility of lead in your plumbing system and after a disruption of service.
As a standard practice the USEPA recommends these actions (flush, clean, consume cold) to reduce possible lead exposure in drinking water. In some situations, a water system repair/replacement may temporarily increase lead levels in water and/or cause discoloration.
If you know of sources of lead in your home, school or business, there are additional actions you can take, and partners you can gain information and assistance from.
Flush your cold water lines before consuming water when water has not been used for 6 or more hours. The goal is to have cold, fresh water from the main in the street come out of your tap before drinking the water. To flush the plumbing, run water until you feel a temperature change then run water for an additional 30 seconds to 3 minutes. The time depends on the length of your service line. When in doubt, flush it out.
- Customers who received a purple door hanger referencing lead should perform a 30-minute full house flush when their water service is restored and/or their home is connected to a new water main. learn more
How to calculate the length of time to flush the cold water faucet at your kitchen sink to bring clean fresh water from the main out of the tap (single family home with basement): (Click to See More)
|STEP 1: Find where the water service line enters your home in the basement. It will usually be toward the front of the house. Most homes will also have a water meter on the service line where it enters their home.|
|STEP 1a: Measure the radius of the service line in inches and write it in Box (1)||Box (1)|
|STEP 2: Measure the length of plumbing from where the water enters the home to your kitchen sink. This will include both vertical and horizontal distances as the plumbing travels up to the ceiling of the basement floor, along the ceiling, then up through the first floor to the kitchen sink. Write distance found in in feet, rounding up to the nearest foot, in box (2).||Box (2)|
|STEP 3: Measure the radius of the plumbing line that leads to the kitchen sink in inches and write it in Box (3)||Box (3)|
|STEP 4: From outside your house, calculate the distance to the center of the street and write that distance in feet, rounding up to the nearest foot, in box (4).||Box (4)|
|STEP 5: Determine the flow rate of your kitchen sink in gallons per minute (gpm). There are three ways to calculate this flow.
Write your flow rate in gpm in Box (5).
|STEP 6: Calculate the volume of the home’s plumbing from basement wall to kitchen faucet = pi x (2) x (3) 2 = ANSWER. Then write the Answer in Box (6)||Box(6)|
|STEP 7: Calculate the volume of the service line from the water main in the street to the basement wall = pi x (4) x (1)2 = ANSWER. Then write the answer in Box (7)||Box(7)|
|STEP 8: Calculate the total volume of water from the service line to faucet = ANSWER Box (6) + ANSWER Box (7). Write the answer in Box (8).||Box(8)|
|STEP 9: Determine how many minutes (or seconds) you need to flush your kitchen sink faucet to have clean fresh water from the street flowing out of the tap by dividing the Total Volume of Water (Box (6)) by the gallons per minute flow rate of your kitchen sink faucet (Box (7)). Write that answer in Box (9)||Box(9)|
|If you have lead in your home’s plumbing system, and as a good water habit, you should flush your home’s plumbing after water has sat in the pipes for 6 or more hours unused. The length of time your family needs need to flush by running cold water at the kitchen sink is the answer in (Box (9)). Write that answer in minutes in Box (10)||Box(10)|
If you have 9.2 gallons of water from the water main in the street to your kitchen sink faucet, and your kitchen sink’s flow rate is 2.5 gallons per minute, you will need to flush your kitchen sink’s cold water faucet for about 3 minutes and 45 seconds. To reduce the amount of time you need to flush, you can flush a toilet and/or take a shower before consuming water.
Clean your faucet aerator screens regularly. Small particles of solder and other material can accumulate in faucet aerators and in some circumstances can release lead into the water. Aerators should be cleaned at least twice a year, and more frequently after work on your plumbing system.
Always use cold water for cooking, drinking and preparing baby formula. Hot water corrodes pipes faster and is more likely to contain lead. If you need hot water for food or drinks, get water from the cold water tap then heat the water.
GET YOUR WATER TESTED
Customers whose single-family residential homes have a full or partial lead service line and/or lead plumbing or copper plumbing with high lead solder installed between 1982 - 1989 can ask to be added to the list of homes who participate in our Lead & Copper Compliance Monitoring program. To have your home added, call 216-664-2882 or download and complete the form and return it to Cleveland Water.
Customers can also choose to have their water tested at their cost at a certified laboratory. The Ohio EPA maintains a list of certified laboratories that can test for lead at epa.ohio.gov/ddagw/labcert. Cost: Free to $
REPLACE PRE-2014 FAUCETS AND FIXTURES
Older faucets may contain higher levels of lead. Faucets manufactured and sold in the U.S. after 2014 are considered “lead-free” and must contain less than 0.25% lead in areas that come into contact with water. Cost: $ to $$$ per faucet
PROPERLY USE A POINT-OF-USE TREATMENT DEVICE CERTIFIED TO REMOVE LEAD
Point-of-use treatment devices include water filtering pitchers and filters that attach directly to faucets used for water consumption. The device should be certified to remove lead for potable water use by a certifying organization such as the National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF), Underwriters Laboratory (UL), or Water Quality Association (WQA). Filters must be maintained and changed according to the manufacturer’s instructions or users run the risk of increasing their lead exposure. Cost: $ to $$$ + regular replacement filter costs.
REPLACE LEAD SERVICE LINES
Cleveland Water encourages customers to replace customer-owned lead service lines, especially when we are replacing city-owned lead service lines. Cleveland Water now offers to replace customer-owned lead service lines every time we replace the city-owned portion of a lead service line. The highest risk for lead exposure is when partial lead service lines are left behind. When customers replace their portion of a lead service line, Cleveland Water will replace our portion of the service line if it is lead. For more information, contact our Lead Inquiry Line at 216-644-2882. Cost: $$$$ One-time cost of approximately $60-200 per foot of service line.
ELIMINATE OTHER SOURCES OF LEAD
Cleveland Water cares about your family’s health. We take action to prevent lead exposure from known lead sources in plumbing systems. However, according to the Ohio Department of Health, the most common source of lead exposure in our state is dust from deteriorating lead-based paint used on homes and buildings before the 1978 ban on lead paint. Lead-contaminated dust settles on floors, windowsills, and toys and can also impact the soil outside homes. Lead was historically used in a wide variety of products including paint, ceramics, plumbing materials, solders, gasoline, batteries, ammunition, jewelry and cosmetics. For additional information about lead poisoning prevention and where to have your blood tested for lead:
Many groups are working to eliminate lead from paint and other potential exposure routes. Below are links to entities based on the following categories:
Lead exposure can impact everyone, particularly babies, developing fetuses, and children age 6 and younger, because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults’ bodies and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
According to the Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, children can absorb 40-50% of an oral dose of lead that is dissolved in drinks or food. By comparison, adults will generally only absorb 3-10% of lead that is consumed. Once lead is deposited into the respiratory tract, 95% can be absorbed into the blood (see ASTDR report).
Bottle-fed infants younger than 6 months are the most likely to be impacted by lead in water because their diet primarily consists of re-constituted formula and they are unable to move about on their own. Children age 6 months and older are more likely to be impacted by lead dust because they touch many surfaces that adults do not touch; younger children suck on thumbs and put other items in their mouth that may have been exposed to lead dust.
Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia. Chronic lead exposure (long-term low-level lead exposure) is more common than acute (one-time very high dose); however lead exposure can negatively impact all people.
A person who is exposed to lead over time may feel abdominal pain, constipation, depressed, distracted, forgetful, irritable, nauseous/sick, fatigued, and have impaired concentration. Lead exposure can also have reproductive effects including miscarriages, stillbirths, reduced sperm count, and lead can pass from other to developing fetus.
Outside the city of Cleveland, contact your county health department
- Cuyahoga County Board of Health
- Geauga County Health District
- Medina County Health Department
- Portage County Health District
- Summit County Public Health
Ohio Department of Health
- Lead Poisoning Prevention
- Ohio Department of Health — Medical Management Recommendations for Children Receiving Blood Lead Tests
- Ohio Department of Health — Questions & Answers about Lead Poisoning in Children PDF
- CDC Lead Publications
- CDC Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Toxicological Profile for Lead
General Lead Information
- City of Cleveland Lead Hazard Control Program
- Ohio Department of Health — The Ohio Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Main Lead Page
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) –Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes Lead Information
- National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Lead Information page
- National Lead Poisoning and Prevention Week
Lead Abatement/Removal from Homes and Schools
- Cleveland Department of Public Health - Lead Safe Living
- Cuyahoga County: LEAD SAFE LIVING HEALTHY HOMES GRANT PROGRAM (scroll down page)
- Cuyahoga County Board of Health – Lead Poisoning Prevention
- Lead Safe Living Brochure
- Ohio Department of Health — Lead Poisoning Prevention and Abatement
- Ohio Department of Health Lead Hazardous Properties – map view
- Ohio Healthy Homes Network – Ohio Lead Law
- Ohio Healthy Homes Network: Protecting Your Family From Lead
- LEAD Real Estate Disclosure Information for Home Buyers and Renters
- U.S. EPA brochure on how to protect your family from lead based paint in your home
- U.S. EPA - Protect Your Family from Exposures to Lead
- The National Center for Healthy Housing Library (search “Lead”)
- National Center for Healthy Housing: Find It, Fix It, Fund It
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Lead Removal in Schools
- Ohio Facilities Construction Commission — School Lead Fixture Replacement Grant Program
- Schools, Preschools, Daycares: 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water Toolkit
- 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools and Child Care facilities PDF
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Lead Removal/Abatement Funding
- City of Cleveland Lead Hazard Control Program Grants
- Cuyahoga County Lead Safe Program
- Ohio Department of Health - Lead Hazard Control Grant Program
- Ohio Facilities Construction Commission — School Lead Fixture Replacement Grant Program
- U.S. EPA Lead Outreach, Partnerships and Grants
- U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Lead-Based Paint and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Programs
- National Center for Healthy Housing – Financing and Funding Resources
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