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Customers of the White Rock Water System were notified that three homes in the community recently found elevated levels of lead in their tap water. Of 23 samples collected in August and September, three exceeded the action level, indicating the problem is not widespread and does not impact every home. Those three affected households were immediately notified, and the remaining 95 households on the system have been offered free testing.
Lead can cause serious health problems. The County has been monitoring for lead in the White Rock System since 1993 and is currently testing every three years, as required by the Maryland Department of the Environment. Lead measurements reflect the highest level found in 90% of samples, which is called the 90th percentile. When testing at White Rock was last completed in 2017, the 90th percentile for lead was 2 parts per billion (ppb), which is well below the action level of 15 ppb. For the 2020 monitoring period, the 90th percentile for lead was 16 ppb.
The Division of Water and Sewer Utilities has been in close communication with the Maryland Department of Environment and the Frederick County Health Department and will continue to do so until the situation has been fully resolved.
White Rock residents with questions can contact Kenneth Orndorff, Superintendent of Water Treatment and Distribution, at 301-600-1825 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
The Frederick County Health Department Lead and Asthma Program staff can be reached at 301-600-3326 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Health effects of lead.
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother's bones, which may affect brain development.
Sources of lead.
The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Other sources include exposure in the work place and exposure from certain hobbies (lead can be carried on clothing or shoes). Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water. Steps you can take to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water.
1. Run your water to flush out the lead. If water has not been used for several hours, run water for 15 – 30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking.
2. Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Lead dissolves more easily in hot water.
3. Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead levels.
4. Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters.
5. Test your water for lead. The Division of Water and Sewer Utilities operates a laboratory that is certified by the State of Maryland to perform lead and copper analysis on drinking water. Call us at 301-600-1825 if you have questions about testing.
6. Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead, if you are concerned about exposure.
7. Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. Brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. The law currently allows end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8% lead to be labeled as “lead-free.” Visit NSF International’s Web site at www.nsf.org to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA's Web site at www.epa.gov/lead or contact your healthcare provider.
The New Design System is fluoridated and supplies these communities and/or subdivisions:
Fluoridated small water systems supply the following communities and/or subdivisions:
The Maryland Department of the Environment has completed source-water assessments for each of the County’s water supplies. These assessments are used to implement source-water protection plans, which identify and prevent potential sources of contamination from entering your drinking water supply.
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The Water Purification/Distribution Department is responsible for the operation of the County's water treatment plants and distribution systems.
The County's primary water treatment facilities are staffed 24 hours per day, 7 day per week. Smaller satellite facilities are staffed to provide operator attention several hours per day, 7 days per week.
This Department's certified operators provide routine daily operation of the County's water supply infrastructure to ensure that customers of the County's Public water systems receive water that continually complies with Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requirements.