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DC Water and Sewer Authority
Chemical treatment recommended to address lead problem
May 19, 2004




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DC Water and Sewer Authority
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20032


Wednesday May 19, 2004
Contact: Johnnie Hemphill

Community Meetings Scheduled to Provide Information on Chemical Change

The Technical Expert Working Group (TEWG) formed to address the problem of elevated lead levels in the drinking water in some District homes has recommended a treatment method to solve the problem of lead leaching in lead service line pipes and fixtures. The TEWG includes the D. C. Water and Sewer Authority, the distributor of water for the District, the Washington Aqueduct which produces and treats the water, the D. C. Department of Health, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Starting on or about June 1, 2004, the Washington Aqueduct will begin adding zinc orthophosphate (ZnOP) to the District’s water supply. ZnOP is a commonly used corrosion inhibitor that will form a protective coating inside of lead service line pipes and fixtures in customers’ homes to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water. It may take six months or longer for a reduction in lead levels to occur. ZnOP is a food-grade chemical and is generally recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and the EPA

ZnOP will be added to the District’s water supply in two phases. In the first phase, ZnOP will be added to water that is distributed to a small area in the Northwest quadrant of the city—an area bordered roughly by Western Avenue on the north, Utah Avenue and Reno Road on the east, Massachusetts Avenue on the south and Wisconsin Avenue on the west. This area was selected for the first phase because it is representative of the entire system, including lead service line pipes. In the second phase, the Washington Aqueduct plans to add ZnOP to the entire water supply system later this summer.

Two community meetings will be held to provide residents in the first phase information about the chemical change. The meetings will be held:

Monday, May 24, 2004
6:30 - 8:00 pm
St. Columbus Church
4201 Albemarle Street, NW
Wednesday, June 2, 2004
6:30 – 8:00 pm
Blessed Sacrament Shrine Church
5841 Chevy Chase Parkway, NW

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