Monitoring Lead for your Safety

 In Lead and Copper, Water Meter Upgrades, Water Quality, Water Service Lines, Water Treatment

There’s a lot to be said about lead.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) banned the use of lead pipes in 1986 through the Safe Drinking Water Act (later implemented in 1988) as lead pipes were shown to contaminate drinking water, posing significant health risks, especially to children. Today, no lead pipe water service lines have been found in Thornton, and we continuously monitor the water supply to detect any trace of lead while following strict guidelines from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE).

Pipe Inventory

Thornton is working on a water service line inventory project. Per CDPHE’s Draft Lead and Copper Rule Revision Policy, the City will need to submit a water service line inventory by October 2024. This initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to ensure the integrity of our water distribution system.

Thornton maintains a total of approximately 42,000 water meters. As a part of Thornton’s ongoing effort to upgrade all meters with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology, we can conduct a variety of tests within the water meter pit (visual, magnet, or chemical) to ensure that there are no lead service lines within the water distribution system.

To date, we have completed over 30,000 meter pit inspections of both the service and customer service lines. With approximately 80% of the project completed, it’s reassuring that no lead service lines have been identified in Thornton. Soon, the city will establish an online portal on our website that will allow water customers to look up the status of their water service line to track any data reported to CDPHE. Learn more about our current Capital Improvement Program and our meter-related projects.

Screenshot of Webpage for Thornton's Capital Improvement Projects

Thornton’s Proactive Approach: Testing and Prevention

Thornton goes above and beyond to guarantee the safety of your water supply. While some older homes may have lead solder as part of their plumbing system, we have taken significant steps to prevent the dissolving of metals into your drinking water. Our Water Quality Division samples and monitors your water for lead and copper levels ensuring that our levels consistently remain well below the regulatory limits set by CDPHE and EPA. In addition, Thornton actively adjusts the chemistry of the drinking water to limit the corrosivity and prevent dissolution of any potential lead in the system.

In 2024, Thornton will start testing for lead and copper at all schools and childcare facilities within the city. Any elevated lead levels will be addressed in partnership with area school districts and facility owners.

Image of Cover for Thornton's Water Quality Report

Every year, Thornton provides our water customers with a Water Quality Report that details all the results from sampling and testing. While sampling results are usually well below required limits, exceedances are quickly investigated until resolved.

Free Water Testing Program

To provide further peace of mind to our residents, we offer a Free Water Testing Program. If your home in Thornton was built between 1983 and 1987 and is a single-family home, you may be eligible to have your water tested for lead at no cost. This program is an additional step we take to ensure the safety of your drinking water; it runs twice a year and the first 100 residents to participate receive a gift card. If you are interested in participating and need more information, email or call 303-255-7770.

image of faucet pouring water into a test tube

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing revisions to the National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for lead and copper under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The EPA’s proposed rule aims to address several items including proposed lead service line replacement, public education, and other areas of public health protection. Public comments are being accepted here on or before February 5, 2024.

Without Water Life Would Be Pretty Dry graphic
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