GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – North Country communities are getting on top of lead pipes – and making sure homeowners don’t have any. This week, municipalities in Warren County are asking their residents to take a close look at what’s bringing the water in and out of their taps and tubs.
According to a 2021 lead and copper rule revision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, water system operators nationwide have to take inventory of the materials used in water pipelines within their areas of service. The EPA requires the replacement of lead pipes in areas where they’re still in use, and needs to know where they are.
“The goal of this effort is to make sure that the water pipelines connected to our homes are safe,” said Glens Falls Acting Chief Water Plant Treatment Operator Don Coalts. “Thankfully we have good, clean water here in Warren County that does not contain lead, and ensuring that the last section of pipe at your home is safe is important as well.”
If you’re unsure what your pipes are made of, it’s not hard to find out. All you need is a key or a coin, as well as a fairly strong refrigerator magnet. Find the pipe that comes through the outside wall of your home and connects to your basement water meter, and use the magnet to determine if the pipe is galvanized steel – which it is if the magnet sticks.
If not, the pipe is either made of copper or lead. Use sandpaper to expose metal if the pipe is painted, and then get to work with your key or coin. Scratch the pipe like it’s a lottery ticket, and see what the metal looks like. If it’s shiny, silver, and flaky, it’s lead. If closer in color to a penny, your pipe is copper, and does not need to be replaced.
Warren County homeowners are asked to submit photos of their tested pipes to a new online form. The form also asks for property addresses, and information on whether the property is on the public line. If not, you don’t need to fill out the form.