An article recently published in the Press Enterprise discusses how lead pipes are found across the nation and some cities have started million dollar programs to replace these pipes.
Lead pipes are predominantly found in older neighborhoods, especially in the East and Midwest, because most cities stopped installing them in the 1930s. The pipes carry water from main lines under the streets and into homes.
Estimates vary on how many of these pipes are still in use. A survey just completed by the American Water Works Association puts the number at 6.5 million. Inside homes, lead can also be found in faucets and in the solder that is used to join water pipes, but that is considered a less serious concern.
To stop lead from seeping into tap water, chemicals to protect the pipes are commonly added to the water during the treatment process. Some utilities also adjust the composition of their water to limit its corrosiveness.