Lead and Copper FAQ's

lead free logo which is a drop of water with the words Lead Free HP overlayed on top

The City of High Point is committed to providing safe drinking water to you. One way to do so is to ensure that lead is not present within our water system. Below are several frequently asked questions (FAQs). We may add to this list as research, investigation and improvements occur.

1.    What is the Lead Reduction Program?    

The Lead Reduction Program is High Point’s effort to achieve compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s latest revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule. These revisions become effective in October 2024 and include requirements for utilities to create and maintain an inventory of service lines in their service area, develop a lead sampling plan for all schools in the utility’s service area, and provide public education about the presence and effects of lead in drinking water.

2.    What are the current regulations on lead regarding drinking water?    

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) recognizes lead’s danger in drinking water. In 1991, the USEPA issued the Lead & Copper Rule mandating water systems adjust their water chemistry to control corrosion which would limit lead leaching into the water. As of December 2021, revisions and additional requirements have been added to the Lead and Copper Rule that must be complied with by October 16, 2024. Please click on the link for additional information on the Lead and Copper Rule and the most recent revisions.

3.    What is a water service line, and who owns it?    

A water service line is a pipe that connects a water main to an individual property. High Point maintains the portion leading from the water main to the meter. The property owner maintains the portion leading from the residence (building structure) to the water meter.

4. How does the City verify that water service lines are not made of lead or copper?

To comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Lead and Copper Rule, the City will be verifying the material of water service lines. The field verification will involve using a vacuum excavator to check the material of the water service lines coming from the water mains in the street and the water service lines going to residents' houses from the water meter. Below is a video of this process. 

Vacuum Excavation Pipe Access
Vacuum Excavation - After Photo

5. Who should I contact with questions?    

For questions not answered by this FAQ list, don't hesitate to contact robby.stone@highpointnc.gov or call 336-883-3215.

6.    How does lead get into drinking water?    

Lead can enter water from the corrosion of lead pipes and plumbing materials that contain lead. Sources of lead in drinking water include lead service lines, lead solder, brass faucets/fittings and galvanized steel pipes.

7.    How do I know if my home is at risk?    

Homes built after 1986 are less likely to have lead service lines. Additional lead sources can include lead solder, brass faucets/fittings and galvanized steel pipes. Please click the link to find more information on how to check for lead in your home.

The most effective way to check for lead inside your home is to purchase a lead test kit. We recommend using one of the three EPA-recognized lead test kits, which can be purchased online or at local home improvement retailers. You may contact the City of High Point customer service to request water sampling near your home by calling 336-883-3111.

8.    My water smells unusual or is discolored. Does this mean I have lead in my water?

These qualities are not indicative of lead in your drinking water. Lead is odorless, tasteless and cannot be seen when dissolved in water. 

9.    What is High Point’s current water quality?

The City of High Point releases an annual water quality report. Water quality reports can be found at HighPointNc.gov/WaterQualityReport

10.    What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?

Signs of repeated lead exposure may include abdominal pain or cramps, aggressive behavior, constipation, sleep problems, headaches, irritability, loss of appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, numbness or tingling in the extremities, memory loss, anemia and kidney dysfunction.

11.    What are the health effects of lead exposure?

Young children and infants are particularly vulnerable because the ill effects of lead exposure are triggered at lower levels than adults. In children under 7, lead exposure has been linked to behavior and learning issues, slowed growth and hearing problems. Adults exposed to lead can suffer from cardiovascular effects, decreased kidney function and reproductive problems.

12.    How can I get tested for exposure to lead?

Contact your doctor or local health care provider about a blood test for lead exposure, or contact the health department in your county/jurisdiction.

13.    Can I shower in lead-contaminated water?

Yes. Bathing, showering and washing clothes are safe to do with lead-exposed water. Lead cannot be absorbed through human skin.

14.    How can I be exposed to lead?

The most common cause of lead exposure from drinking water is corrosion of lead service lines and home plumbing devices.

15.    What level of lead is safe to consume?

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur with an adequate margin of safety. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLGs). The EPA has set the maximum contaminant level goal for lead in drinking water at zero because lead is a toxic metal that can harm human health even at low exposure levels. Lead is persistent, and it can bioaccumulate in the body over time.

16.    What sources of lead exist in the environment?

Lead can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, soil, water and even inside our homes. Exposure to lead can come from paint, dust, gasoline, batteries, plumbing and even food. Click the link to find out more information about where lead can be found in the environment.

17.  What can schools and childcare facilities do to reduce potential lead levels in drinking water?