Should I have my lead water lateral replaced?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by beckkl, Jul 24, 2010.

  1. beckkl

    beckkl New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    My wife and I purchased a home, which is being gutted and completely redone. I noticed the water coming in from the street is a lead pipe. Would it make sense to have this replaced? I'm unsure of the cost, but I'm sure it isn't going to be cheap. The home inspection guy said it isn't really an issue unless the water has been sitting in it a while. I dunno, I'm wondering if it should be replaced. The rest of the house will be CPVC.
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,272
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    IT is a judgement call. Once lead is exposed to water, it develops a patina on the inside so the water does NOT contact the lead. Therefore, there is little possibility for the lead to contaminate the water, but that is also the case with almost ALL plumbing products, so the alarmists may just be shouting "the sky is falling, the sky is falling", like Chicken Little.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,333
    Location:
    New England
    I'd check the pH of the water, then decide. It probably isn't putting any lead in the water, but a test for lead could be done as well. The lower the pH, the more likely you are of having a problem.
  4. Ian Gills

    Ian Gills Senior Robin Hood Guy

    Messages:
    2,777
    Location:
    USA
    Could you ask them to keep going and replace the 23,000 lead pipes in Washington DC while they are at it?

    Which is a good case in point. Lead pipes haven't had an impact on Washingtonians have they?

    The Federal Government is, after all, a model of mental and physical health.

    Only in America would you get advice like this in 2010:

    http://www.dcwasa.com/lead/reduce_lead_tips.pdf

    In civilized countries, the Government would be digging up and replacing your pipes for free while you're at work, leaving a thank you note that it was the least they could do because you pay property and income taxes.

    But here, you pay or you die. And Americans are somehow fine with that.

    But we wouldn't want people trying to screw the system would we? I guess anyone would want 40 feet of copper pipe and their lawn dug up for free if you'd let them. It would be chaos and just imagine the drain on public resources.

    We all need to wake up.
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  5. beckkl

    beckkl New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    Any tips for joining copper to it? There is already a bell, where the old copper was removed. It was necessary to remove, as valve on the extremely short piece of copper was totally shot. Some folks mentioned Lead-Loc compression fittings, but I was wondering if there would be any way using conventional fittings that wouldn't piss off the inspector ;)

    I don't intend to do this myself, I just want to make sure my plumber is doing the right thing. He seemed a bit ... unsure. He's a younger guy, so I can imagine he doesn't see much lead?
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