Elevated lead levels in Fruitvale neighborhood

Alameda County Healthy Homes Department suggests source of lead is paint and soil; not tap water.

A recent Reuters media story is reporting elevated levels of lead in children in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood. As a provider of water and wastewater services that support the East Bay's public health, EBMUD shares our communities' concern about lead's impact on public health. 

Alameda County's Healthy Homes Department, the county's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, has found that the most common sources of lead in area homes are paint and soil, not water.

EBMUD provides high quality tap water to 1.4 million people in the East Bay. Extensive testing shows that our water meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water requirements, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Lead and Copper Rule. In addition, the District has an active corrosion control program in place since the 1930s to prevent corrosion in water pipes. If any lead pipes exist in homes or private properties, our corrosion control practices minimize lead from leaching into the water.

EBMUD is supporting Alameda County in addressing this public health concern, including offering lead tap sampling at home or businesses. Information and resources on lead poisoning are available online at www.achhd.org/leadpoisoning/

Events in Flint, Michigan have placed a spotlight on lead levels in drinking water and the potential health issues associated with lead. EBMUD removed all known lead service lines from the District service area in the 1990s and continues to remove lead materials whenever they are found.

EBMUD delivers high quality water to 1.4 million East Bay residents. This 24-hour per day, seven-day per week operation ensures high quality water for drinking, firefighting, sanitation and industry.

EBMUD spearheaded a successful campaign to minimize lead in household faucets, resulting in the passage of California law AB 1953 that went into effect in 2010. That law reduced the lead content standard for drinking water plumbing from 4 percent to 0.25 percent. In 2011, President Obama signed into law a national "Get the Lead Out" bill, modeled after California's law. It went into effect in 2014.

For questions or concerns regarding water quality, call EBMUD at 1-866-403-2683 or visit ebmud.com/water-quality.