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Lead found in Southampton drinking water prompts more rigorous monitoring

  • Laura Nawrocik



Managing Editor
Monday, November 20, 2017

SOUTHAMPTON — Elevated levels of lead found in drinking water in three homes earlier this year has required the town to increase its scheduled water quality testing, according to the Southampton Water Department. 

The lead levels exceeded 15 parts per billion and were detected during a routine sampling of 20 homes in town. The three homes with elevated levels of lead were retested in October and water samples were found to be below levels of concern for lead at these sites.   

“We know the water we’re putting out has no lead in it,” Water Department Superintendent Thomas Gaughan said. “This is usually a problem of internal plumbing and fixtures.”

The drinking water tested comes from the town’s Glendale Well which is lead-free and has not been found to be particularly corrosive to household plumbing over the last 50-plus years the town has been using the water, according to the Water Department. Nevertheless, town officials said they are taking the recent tests seriously and are conducting additional sampling to further assess the situation. 

“It could be anything, but ultimately it’s our responsibility to find out what … because we provide the water,” Gaughan said. 

The Water Department has alerted residents about the elevated lead levels, its action plan and provided recommendations to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water. Those measures include flushing water fixtures for 15 to 30 seconds, identifying and replacing plumbing fixtures containing lead and testing water for lead by a state certified laboratory, among others. “The flushing of water is key,” Gaughan said.