02/16/06 — Results -- No lead worries in Goldsboro city water

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Results -- No lead worries in Goldsboro city water

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 16, 2006 2:10 PM

City officials and the Wayne County Health Department said elevated levels of lead were not found in the Goldsboro water system during a recent state water study.

The state's Departments of Health and Human Services and Environmental and Natural Resources conducted the water sampling project in six water systems in North Carolina. The study was initiated in late 2005 after elevated levels of lead were found in drinking water in Greenville.

In December, the Health Department assisted the state in collecting 65 water samples through the city water system for homes built before 1982. Lead was not detected in 64 of the 65 homes. One home showed a low level of lead at 18 parts per billion. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently lowered the acceptable lead level from 50 parts per billion to 15 parts per billion.

Health Director James Roosen told the Board of Health Wednesday that lead leaching into Goldsboro's water supply is a closed issue.

"There's not a hazard present for people who are on this water supply," he said. While the city had initially discontinued fluoridation out of concern, Roosen said findings from the study ruled out that there was any cause for alarm.

Still, he said, it was a very important issue for a lot of reasons.

"One thing we want to do is assure the community that the water's been tested; there's not a concern," he said, calling the process an "excellent example of public health in action, addressing community concerns."

Officials had determined that certain water can cause lead from household plumbing to corrode into the water, particularly in homes built before the early 1980s when lead solder was used. Houses built after 1982 no longer contained the lead solder because it was outlawed by the EPA.

The state was interested in seeing if the type of disinfection used in water could influence the solubility of lead from household plumbing. It selected three water systems for the study that use chloramine disinfection -- Goldsboro, Durham, and Monroe -- and three systems that use "free" chlorine disinfection. At this point, Siler City and two other undetermined locations will represent systems using "free" chlorine disinfection.

In a statement released by Goldsboro Public Utilities Director Karen Brashear, she said that Goldsboro became the first chloramine-type water system to be studied, even though historically Goldsboro had complied with all lead standards set by EPA.