Local News

More Lead Testing Urged for Durham Water

Posted January 29, 2007 12:21 p.m. EST

— Durham County's environmental health director has recommended that more people in the county have their water tested for lead contamination.

After a child in a Durham housing project showed signs of lead poisoning last spring, tests were conducted in older homes across the city.

Eighteen of 89 water samples showed lead contamination above federal safety guidelines. All of the residences were served by the city water system.

Health officials also conducted a pilot study of lead and copper in the water supply of Durham County homes served by private wells. Two of 27 homes tested showed excessive lead initially, but both were below federal limits after the water lines were flushed.

Lead is especially toxic to young children and can cause brain damage and other developmental problems.

Health officials said people living in homes built before 1986 that have copper plumbing should have their water tested to determine if a problem exists.

County residents on private wells can have that done for a $20 fee. People can call 919-560-7800 for more information.

Officials also urged people in older homes to run the tap for up to three minutes before drinking or using water for cooking if the water hasn't been used for more than six hours. They also said hot water out of the tap should never be used for cooking or drinking.