We launched the Philly Unleaded Project to obtain more precise information about lead levels in our tap water than currently required by law. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) mandates monitoring for lead in water at a small number of high-risk homes and ensuring that there is no severe and widespread contamination. A water utility’s compliance with the LCR, however, offers no guarantee that lead-in-water levels at individual homes are not high or even extremely high. Our goal is to offer residents at all homes (high-risk and not) the opportunity to test their tap water.
Lead exposure can irreversibly harm childhood brain development as well as the development of fetuses and infants dependent on reconstituted formula. This testing will be coordinated by Philly Unleaded Project, a citizen-led coalition of Philadelphia residents concerned about the potential hazards of our drinking water. We are an independent, not-for-profit, and impartial alliance seeking to find accurate answers about the quality of the water in our homes.
Households interested in participating in the testing will be sent a kit containing three bottles. After a period of six hours of not using your water (overnight works best), residents will be asked to fill each water bottle at different intervals over the course of a few minutes. Residents will also be asked to check their water service line to find out if it might be lead or copper.
The water will then be sent to Virginia Tech for testing - the same lab used to uncover the Flint water crisis. Results will be shared publicly (but anonymously) with news media, Philadelphia Water and individual residents who participated in the testing.