HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — Harris County MUD 70, which services some subdivisions in the Cypress area, found elevated levels of lead during its routine water sampling in the months of June through September.
The Municipal Utility District said three out of the 20 samples taken from single-family homes exceeded the EPA action level, but these levels didn't violate the state and federal law. However, that led the district to post educational material on lead and do additional testing.
The three areas with high lead levels were retested and the results from those samples came back below EPA action levels.
Harris County MUD 70 said more lead sampling will be performed at homes between January 1 and June 30, 2023.
How lead gets into tap water
Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Lead in water can come from homes with lead service lines that connect the home to the main water line. Homes without lead service lines may still have brass or chrome-plated brass faucets, galvanized iron pipes or other plumbing soldered with lead. Some drinking water fountains with lead-lined tanks and other plumbing fixtures not intended for drinking water (e.g., lab faucets, hoses, spigots, hand washing sinks) may also have lead in the water.
Lead can enter drinking water when a chemical reaction occurs in plumbing materials that contain lead. This is known as corrosion – dissolving or wearing away of metal from the pipes and fixtures. This reaction is more severe when water has high acidity or low mineral content. How much lead enters the water is related to:
- the acidity or alkalinity of the water,
- the types and amounts of minerals in the water,
- the amount of lead that water comes into contact with,
- the water temperature,
- the amount of wear in the pipes,
- how long the water stays in pipes, and
- the presence of protective scales or coatings in the pipes.
Health effects of lead exposure
According to Harris County health officials, drinking water with elevated lead levels can cause health problems, including damage to the brain and kidney and can interfere with the body's production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to parts of the body. Infants, young children and pregnant women are at greatest risk.