State Warns Of Excessive Lead In One Escambia County (AL) Water System

September 27, 2020

An Escambia County, Alabama, water system is being required by the state to warn customers about elevated levels of lead.

Laboratory analysis for the monitoring period between June – September 2020 found that lead levels at three homes on the McCall Water System. Sampling at 21 homes found levels of  no detectable lead at some, while others were up to nearly five times the acceptable level.

On August 7, the McCall Water System, Inc.’s laboratory reported that all three confirmation samples collected on July 28 did not exceed the EPA action level for lead. At this time, there is no evidence of lead in the water sources being used locally, nor are there any known lead service lines in the system, according to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM)

ADEM directed the McCall Water System to prepare a corrosion control report, conduct water quality parameter and source monitoring, to continue monitoring 20 sites every six months, and provide educational materials to customers and other consumers. The department will be working closely with McCall to return the system to compliance as soon as possible.

“Anytime that a lead action level is exceeded is a concern, particularly for young children and pregnant women,” said ADEM Director Lance LeFleur. “Until the McCall Water System is able to demonstrate lead levels that are in compliance, there are steps residents can take to reduce exposure.”

ADEM advises McCall Water Systems customers who are concerned regarding potential lead in their plumbing to take the following steps:

  • Run the water for 15-30 seconds to flush lead from plumbing prior to using the water.
  • Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Hot water in contact with the pipes can leach more lead, so using cold water can reduce exposures.
  • Consider bottled water as an alternative source. Additionally, filters available for home use that will remove lead. NSF International maintains a list of filter products certified to remove lead.
  • Boiling water does not remove lead.
  • Bathing and showering should be safe, even if the water contains lead over EPA action
  • levels. Human skin does not absorb lead in water


One Response to “State Warns Of Excessive Lead In One Escambia County (AL) Water System”

  1. J. Talle on September 29th, 2020 11:56 am

    Thank you for reporting this, William! I received a letter from McCall Water System (several pages long) that managed to be less informative than this article.

    The one piece of information I needed was not stated in the McCall letter. Nowhere did it say clearly if my house water has unsafe lead or not. Just vaguely mentioned some of the thousands of people in their distribution have unsafe lead in their water. No mention of street names or number they found.

    It did include a sheet of nationwide water testing labs addresses who could test my water – at my own expense – and a lot of alarming facts about lead I already was aware of.

    I’m glad to read that McCall is not detecting unsafe lead from their water sources at this time and don’t have lead lines. I have a newer house, pvc and copper pipes with the non-lead solder required after the 1980s. I would think my pipes are not contributing any unsafe lead to my house, but an older home’s pipes could potentially.

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