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FAQ about Lead

Q: Is there lead in the city’s source water?
A: No. No lead is detected in Green Bay's source water, which is drawn from Lake Michigan. We then treat the water through a multi-step process that does not add any lead. This water, which has no detectable lead and meets/exceeds all federal guidelines for safety, is then distributed to customers. In addition, no lead is detected in the water main pipes that distribute our water in Green Bay.
 
Q: Where does the lead come from?
A: Lead can enter the water from existing lead-based water service lines, which run from the water main in the street to homes. Lead service lines were last installed in 1944.  It can also enter from lead solder used in plumbing inside of some homes; Wisconsin banned lead solder in 1984.  There are many other sources of lead including lead-based paints, which are a greater hazard, especially to children.
 
Q: Do I have a lead service?
A: The utility has communicated to all customers that have a lead service on their home/property - with the exception of about 170 homes/ businesses. There are about 400 properties for which we do not know what type of pipes are on the property owner’s side because our database does not contain that information. This is something that can be determined in the basement or crawl space where the meter is in about five minutes.
Please note: You would know if you’re among these 170 property owners. We have reached out to them via several postcards, several letters, knocking on their doors, leaving door hangers asking them to call so we can check the water service if they’re not home, and calling them. IF we haven’t sent you multiple postcards, letters, a door hanger and called, you do not need to contact us as you do not have a private-side lead service.   
 
Q: What should I do if there are lead pipes in my house?
A: Here are a few simple steps you can take to drastically reduce lead in your water:
  • RUN your water 1 to 2 minutes until cold.
  • Doing this replaces standing water in your pipes with fresh water.
  • Boiling your water will not remove lead.
  • USE cold water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.
  •  Hot water disturbs lead particulate that may be present.
IF you are uncomfortable with the above:
  • Add a filtering device or purchase bottled water for cooking and drinking until your lead content level is resolved.
  • Change the filter according to directions if you choose to purchase one. 
Q: Is the water safe for other uses like bathing, laundry, cleaning, or plant watering? What about ice from the icemaker in my freezer?
A: Your water is safe for bathing, laundry, cleaning and watering plants. If you have an icemaker, we recommend not using it until your lead service is replaced, or you put a filtering device on your intake valve. If you add a filtering device, be sure to change the filter according to directions.
 
Q: Why is it important to remove lead?
A: Lead may pose a significant health risk if too much enters your body. The greatest risk is to young children and pregnant women. Lead builds up over the years and can cause damage to the brain, red blood cells and kidneys, and may cause a slight increase in blood pressure.
 
Q: I am concerned about my child's potential lead exposure. What can I do?
A: You may have your child’s blood tested. The Brown County Health Department or your healthcare provider can help you with this.
 
 
Green Bay drinking water is safe; it is actually the old service lines, which we are working to replace, that contain lead. Lead usually comes from other sources not associated with water, like paint pre-dating the 1970s.