Cincinnati Residents Will Get Notification About Lead Lined Water Pipes

Mar 30, 2016

Credit WVXU

Cincinnati officials estimate that some 16,000 private properties are still getting water through lead lined pipes.  

The city will soon be notifying those owners in writing about the issue. Council approved a motion Wednesday for such notifications.  

Council Member Christopher Smitherman proposed the idea while stressing the city's water supply is safe.

"Those private properties, as we talk about them being bought and sold and transferred, I hope that we continue to push and make sure as those properties are being sold, that those new owners are being notified, and that they understand of the potential risk that they might have in the future," Smitherman said.

The issue has gotten renewed attention because of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

Council Member Wendell Young wants to make sure everyone finds out.

"When property owners are being notified that we perhaps, if at all possible, find a way to notify people who are living in rental properties that those lead pipes are there," Young said. "Because many of them are there with small children and if they don't know they can't even raise a fuss. It occurs to me that there are some property owners who may not care, will not tell them."

The new director of the Greater Cincinnati Water Works reiterated in February the city's water supply is safe and there is no lead leaching into the water supply like the situation in Flint.  

But Director Cathy Bailey said there is what she calls "ever present risk."

"We know that we still have lead service lines in our system, that's something that is known," Bailey said. "We have a main replacement program that we've had in place 1971; and so as we go out and replace those water mains, we look at those lead service lines and we replace as much as we can there."

The city still has about 16,000 lead service supply lines, but that number is down from 24,000 a few years ago.  

The city has a "corrosion control program" that is protecting them from the lead leaching into the water. The lead is not leaching into their water supply.

"More than 95 percent of the homes tested in Cincinnati have no or very low levels of lead," according to a city memo from January.  "Homes built before 1927 are more likely to have lead pipes. If a homeowner has any concerns they should contact GCWW who can, at no charge, test water for lead or provide a list of labs certified to do lead water analysis."

You can find additional information on the city website.