Straight from the Tap

What You Can Do About Lead: Flush, Clean, Consume Cold


If there is lead in your plumbing system, there are simple actions you can take to reduce your risk of exposure to lead in drinking water.

FLUSH Your Plumbing

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 plumbing, run the water until you feel a temperature change. Then keep running the water for an additional 30 seconds to 3 minutes. The exact length of time will depend on the length of your service line.

If your service line is included in a water main repair or replacement project, you should perform a cold water flush immediately after water service is restored. When lead service lines are replaced, small lead particles may dislodge due to vibrations and movement of service lines and plumbing.

By removing faucet aerators then flushing cold water through all of your home’s plumbing at the same time for 30 minutes, potential lead particles should be moved out of the water system and down the drain.

CLEAN Faucet Aerators

An aerator is a fine mesh screen made of metal or plastic and is attached to the end of most indoor faucets. They enhance water pressure by dividing the flow into many tiny streams. Aerators collect tiny pieces of metal or plastic that have corroded from inside your home’s plumbing and hot water tank.

Cleaning collected material from aerators is important for maintaining the high quality of Cleveland Water delivered to your home. Aerators should be cleaned at least twice a year and after any work on your plumbing system or disruptions in water service. Work on plumbing or water mains can dislodge small particles of solder or other materials from pipes. In cases where homes have lead service lines or plumbing, these particles may contain lead.

To clean your aerator, remove the aerator from the end of the faucet, separate the components, and then rinse each piece under flowing water. For deposits that are difficult to remove, you can soak the parts in a mixture of water and vinegar for a few minutes then scrub with a toothbrush. Reassemble the aerator and attach it back onto the faucet. If any parts are missing or broken, replace them.


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.

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