Home Government BTMUA: Lead Pamphlet Refers to Home Piping, Not The Town’s Water Supply

BTMUA: Lead Pamphlet Refers to Home Piping, Not The Town’s Water Supply

A kitchen sink in Brick, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A kitchen sink in Brick, N.J. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A pamphlet that was recently put out warning of exposure to lead from drinking water refers to piping within some of the township’s homes, not the water supply used to supply water.

Drinking water quality monitoring tests conducted by the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority over the summer found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in samples from some homes and buildings in Brick that were constructed between 1982 and 1987. The testing was mandated in buildings constructed in that time period, officials say, because household plumbing fixtures and solders during that time contained the substance, which has been linked to a plethora of health issues.

The use of lead in pipes that carry drinking water was banned in 1986 by federal law.


In September, Brick Shorebeat published the BTMUA’s most recent water quality tests which showed the township’s water supply was significantly cleaner than required by federal law. Substances, including lead, were well below federal limits. In the most recent testing, Brick’s lead level was 0.0005 parts per million, compared to the federal safety limit of 0.015 parts per million.

The testing that the agency was required to carry out in select homes building in the 1980s was done to simulate a scenario that would led to a most-likely case of exposure. During the tests, the water samples were required to sit in the homes’ plumbing for a minimum of 6 hours and were found to absorb small amounts of lead from household plumbing fixtures and solders during that time – not the township’s water supply itself.

Despite the fact that Brick’s water supply is effectively lead-free, the MUA said it has been taking steps to protect those whose homes may have lead soldering of plumbing fixtures.

“In addition to diligently managing water quality, Brick Utilities began adding a commonly used corrosion inhibitor to its water during 2014,” the MUA said in a statement.
The corrosion inhibitor is expected to reduce the potential for lead in household plumbing fixtures to leach into customer water in their homes. Brick Utilities has been working with staff from the state Department of Environmental Protection to “evaluate the performance of the corrosion inhibitor system and secure final permitting for the use of this corrosion inhibitor.”

Protecting From Lead Exposure

While the township’s water supply is safe, those with homes built using lead soldering or plumbing fixtures should take some simple steps to ensure their water does not pick up any lead. Lead can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of the body. Children, infants and pregnant women are most at risk for health issues after exposure.

Additionally, scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with the lowered IQ in children, and adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults.

According to the MUA, some steps can be taken to reduce the risk, including:

Run the water to flush out lead. Let the water run from the tap before using it for drinking or cooking any time the water in a faucet has gone unused for more than 6 hours. The longer the water resides in plumbing the more lead it may contain. Flushing the tap means running the cold water faucet for about 1 5- 30 seconds. Although toilet flushing or showering flushes water through a portion of the plumbing system, you still need to flush the water in each faucet before using it for drinking or cooking. Flushing tap water is a simple and inexpensive measure you can take to protect your health. It usually uses less than one gallon of water.

Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Hot water can dissolve lead more quickly than cold water. If you need hot water, draw water from the cold tap and then heat it. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.

Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.

• Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottle d water or a water filter. Be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 1 – 800 – NSF – 8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer.

Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about lead exposure. Your family doctor or pediatrician can perform a blood test for lead and provide you with information about the health effects of lead.

  • Stephen Brill

    The Brick MUA should send its latest water quality test results to every address that received the poorly worded flyer.

    • Mark Story Jenks

      That flyer did cause some alarm from what I hear. Maybe they should have emphasized the facts a little more clearly by use of bold letters where prudent. Communication has never been their strong point.

  • j.jones

    What happened to our water wasn’t it rated very good not too long ago..what changed ???

  • Mark Story Jenks

    In Lakewood, there are still some service lines that are made of lead. Pure lead. We hit one by accident once when we were digging. (in the last ten years) We had called for a mark-out, but the mark-out guy missed it. Apparently, no one knew it was there. We hit it when we were digging with a backhoe. The house it had once served had been torn down some years before, but the line was still charged from the main to the curb stop. We disconnected it at the main and shut off the corporation. I don’t know how many old homes in Lakewood still have lead service lines, but I feel sorry for the infants and/or toddlers who might drink water from them.
    It is safe to say that Brick has no Lead service lines. There is plenty of Transite (Asbestos) but supposedly it is not harmful unless it is inhaled. You needn’t worry unless you used to cut through it with saws, like we used to.

  • Andy Pat

    So, the $64,000 question is- Did the testing done in the homes built during the time period where lead was in the solder, and the water was allowed to sit in the pipes for 6 hours show elevated lead levels above the MCL (maximum contaminant level) of 0.015 PPM (parts per million)? Or put more simply-How great is the danger? This article, the MUA mailer, nor the MUA website answer that question.

  • j.jones

    Water tastes like crap out of faucet..WTH Is going on in Brick ?? Everyone should receive a credit for this on there water bill..

  • Andy Pat

    So the APP article today reports that some testing indicated as high as 184 parts per billion with a mcl (maximum contaminant level) of 15 ppb. But not to worry. The MUA is adding an corrosion inhibitor that will reduce lead levels over time. Which of course raises the question “What is the corrosion inhibitor and what are the health effects of this new chemical additive?