New York City’s water is safe to drink, but your building pipe’s might have harmful metals. For that reason, NYC urges its residents to run their tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes after a water has been standing in the tap for a while. The city also recommends not using the hot water from the tap for cooking or drinking.
New York’s drinking water is practically lead free, exceeding the highest quality standards when it is delivered from the city’s upstate reservoir. Still, after passing through many household plumbing systems here in New York, lead can enter into our water, increasing our potential for exposure.
Water absorbs lead as it passes through fixtures, solder and pipes, especially in older buildings and homes. If lead is picked up in our drinking water through our plumbing at high enough levels, it poses serious health risks to infants, children and pregnant women.
To reduce your exposure to lead poisoning follow these simple steps: (1) Always let the water run from 30 seconds to 2 minutes before drinking, using for baby formula, or cooking and (2) Always use cold tap water for drinking or cooking, even after having run the tap. To find out more call the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at (800) 426-4791 or visit www.epa.gov/safewater/lead.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has an active corrosion control program which was implemented to reduce lead absorption from service lines and internal plumbing. In addition, under Federal Lead and Copper Rule, lead monitoring is conducted at selected households across New York City. If you are concerned about lead in your drinking water, you might want to have your water tested for free by the DEPs Free Residential Lead Testing Program. To find out more about free testing, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/apps/311.