Is There Lead in Your Office Drinking Water?

As an employer in the United States, you are responsible for providing staff with clean, safe drinking water. However, even if you follow the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) drinking water standards and guidelines, the potable drinking water you’re providing employees for coffee, tea, or hydration may still contain elevated levels of lead.

How Does Lead Get into Drinking Water?

Lead found in drinking water typically comes from older, corroded fixtures or solder that connects pipes. When water sits stagnant in these pipes for several hours, lead can get into your drinking water supply.  

What are Safe Levels of Lead in Drinking Water?

The Safe Drinking Water Act and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lead and Copper Rule both enforce requirements that reduce lead concentrations in drinking water. These standards for drinking water quality help ensure that it is safe to consume. However, lead can still be found in some office water pipes and taps.

Because high levels of lead in the bloodstream can cause negative health effects, it’s important for business owners to know just how much lead is present in their office water. If your office drinking water contains lead at levels that exceed the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb), you will need take action to minimize your employees’ exposure to contaminated water.

How to Test Your Office Drinking Water for Lead

Municipal water treatment centers continually test water for lead. But if your office has corroded pipes, you will need to take matters into your own hands. In order to know how much lead is in your office drinking water, you must have it tested. Because you cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water, it’s important to find this information yourself. Here are a few ways to do so:

- Contact your water utility to see if you may have lead present in your water. The EPA requires all community water systems to prepare and deliver annual water quality reports by July 1 each year, and you can request a copy of your latest report for free.

- Find a DEP-Certified lab near your office. The EPA website can point you to a lab near you. Once you find one, have the lab mail you a sample container. The lab should also give you instructions on how to get the most accurate read on lead levels in your water, including collecting your water sample early in the morning to get the best results.

- Pick up your own drinking water test kit or lead testing strips so you can get results more quickly and test your water continually. Frequent tests can ensure your staff that water is always safe to consume.

Office Water Dispensers Remove Lead from Drinking Water

Aside from testing water for lead, you may want to look at other avenues for improving the drinking water you serve staff and clients. Installing an office water dispenser and filtration system is a simple, effective way to reduce exposure to lead. These systems can improve drinking water quality dramatically by utilizing a high-tech water filtration process with carbon-based water filters that work to remove contaminants like lead.

If you’re worried about lead in your office drinking water, a water filtration system can drastically reduce water impurities and offer staff and clients cleaner, healthier drinking water every day.

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