BANGOR- There are growing concerns over lead contaminated water in Maine water systems after the USA TODAY released a new report, which showed excessive levels found in almost 2,000 water systems across the country from 2012 to 2015.
The report showed the problem is widespread and beyond the current water in Flint, Michigan. It said the water systems, which reported lead levels exceeding Environmental Protection Agency standards, collectively supply water to 6 million people.
According to the USA TODAY, the highest reported lead levels were found at schools and day cares, including at a water Maine elementary school, which was 42 times higher than the EPA limit of 15 parts per billion.
The Bangor Water District was among those listed with high levels of lead in the water system.
“With our experience through the monitoring program, we did find higher levels of lead at homes beginning in 2010. We made changes and adjustments.” said Dina Page, The Bangor Water District water quality manager.
Page said they were able to limit the process of lead, which was mostly found in homes with old plumbing installed.
“They’re the homes that have lead solder in their plumbing. The plumbing dates back to 1986 when lead solder was most recently used.” said Page.
According to Page, lead solder was used in internal plumbing up until it was banned in 1986. The water system is monitoring homes at most risk of having excessive lead. The plumbing dates from 1982 to 1986.
The water district said the Bangor drinking water is free of lead and that there is no lead components in the distribution system. Homeowners are encouraged to run cold water before drinking for at least 2 to 3 minutes.
Page said sitting and stagnant water can make for a higher chance of lead contamination. They will be working with concerned residents and area water systems in need of help.
Doctors are also able to test for lead poisoning. The full USA TODAY report can be found here.