Bi-annual tap water tests have found elevated levels of lead in some Mammoth homes, according to staff at the Mammoth Community Water District.
Lead is known to cause problems with the mental and physical development of children as well as kidney problems in adults, according to a water district press release.
How wide spread is the problem? Erica Hegeman with the Mammoth Water District explained that staff tested tap water from 40 homes as part of the routine testing that they do twice a year. In this latest round, more than 10% tested exceed the state ordered action level of 15 parts per billion.
Hegeman explained that the lead is not in the water, but that water in Mammoth Lakes is somewhat corrosive and can break down lead in solder that holds the pipes and faucets together. In one of the homes with elevated lead levels, Hegeman reports that the source could be narrowed down to one single faucet, which was actually brand new.
Hegeman reports that the Water District is working on a corrosion control effort so that this is not a problem in the future. Until then, the water district recommends a few simple ways to avoid exposure to lead. This includes letting tap water run 15 to 20 seconds before you drink it if the water hasn’t been used for more than six hours. Do a few dishes before you make coffee, Hegeman added. Hot water from the faucet could have dissolved more lead more quickly into the water than cold water. District staff recommends heating water from the cold tap and heating on the stove instead.
To find out if lead is even a problem in your home, the water district is offering tests for $10 a water sample. Call 934-2596.