Mayor's office: Use of filters is part of city's strategy to address issue of lead in water

MILWAUKEE -- The office of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett issued a statement on Wednesday evening, September 7th to say the "use of filters" are part of the city's overall strategy to address the issue of lead in water.

Here is the complete statement from the mayor's office:

“Lead is not found in Milwaukee’s source water and it is not found in water as it leaves the drinking water treatment plants.  Lead service lines, the pipes that carry water to homes from water mains, are potential sources of low levels of lead in water. The Milwaukee Water Works does use phosphate to coat water pipes and reduce lead leeching into a household’s drinking water.

“During today’s forum, Professor Edwards, the Charles P. Lunsford Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech University, made a compelling case for using filters for an additional layer of protection.

“The use of filters and the distribution of filters are, in fact, incorporated into the City’s overall strategy to address the issue of lead in water.

“The disruption of lead water service lines can cause lead to enter a home’s drinking water. That is why the City of Milwaukee Water Works and Health Department have developed a testing protocol for impacted households as well as information for residents to address the issue.

“Currently, when a household is impacted by water main and/or service line replacement or major sewer work, the City provides that household with a pour-through filter pitcher, certified to remove lead, which is good for about 90 days.

“In a February, 2016 mailing to all 70,000 households with lead service lines, the City of Milwaukee Water Works advised customers to take steps to further reduce the risk of lead exposure.  The action steps are especially important for children under the age of six and women who are pregnant and or breastfeeding.

“The steps included:

  • Flush your plumbing by running the kitchen faucet on cold for three minutes before using tap water for drinking or cooking until the water stream is noticeably colder.

  • Use only cold water for drinking and cooking. Households with residents that include children under the age of six, and pregnant women and breastfeeding women should consider using bottled water or filtered  tap water for formula, juices, cooking and drinking.

  • A home filtration system or water filtering pitchers certified to reduce lead can further reduce the possibility of lead entering your drinking water.

“The City has been fully transparent in discussing lead in water. Today’s conversation and information about filters is important to our ongoing efforts to address this serious issue. We must consider all options, listen to experts and make decisions that will protect the health and safety of all our citizens. “