Lead & Drinking Water
Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, can significantly increase a person's total lead exposure. Lead enters drinking water primarily from the corrosion or wearing away of material containing lead in water service lines and household plumbing.
Albany's Water Treatment
To prevent the corrosion of lead materials in the water distribution system, the Albany Water Department (AWD) uses corrosion control treatment for our drinking water. As mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the NY State Department of Health, AWD completes tap water lead testing from a sampling of Albany households every three years. In the latest sampling conducted in 2021 and in previous years, AWD has been in compliance with at least 90% of samples below the action level for lead and copper.
Learn more about water quality from our annual Water Quality Report.
Actions You Can Take
Despite our use of corrosion control treatment and the testing of tap water from select households, lead levels can be high in some homes and buildings due to lead-based plumbing components or other factors. To find out whether you need to take action in your home:
- Determine if your water service line is lead. If your service line is lead, learn more about the Replacement Program.
- Have your drinking water tested with Free Tap Water Testing. If your lead sample exceeds 0.01 mg/L or 10 ppb, apply for a free water filter.
- Learn more on how to Reduce Your Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water
Contact AWD with any questions at 518-434-5300 or by email.
What Is Lead?
Lead is a heavy metal found throughout the environment in lead-based paints, air, soil, household dust, food and water. Lead can pose a significant risk to your health if too much lead enters your body. The greater risk is to young children and pregnant women.