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DC Water and Sewer Authority
Press release: tests indicate lead levels continue to decline
March 8, 2005




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District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority
5000 Overlook Avenue, SW, Washington D.C. 20032

March 8, 2005

Contact: Karen De Witt
(202) 787-2200


The DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) is encouraged by a significant drop in lead levels in recent samples of District of Columbia tap water.

"We’re very optimistic," said Jerry N. Johnson, General Manager of WASA.

Of the first 19 samples taken from homes in 2005, none had lead levels above 15 parts per billion, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) action level for compliance testing. The decline appears to continue a trend first detected in the fourth quarter of 2004.

The promising drop in lead levels is being attributed to the addition of orthophosphate to the water six months ago by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Washington Aqueduct. (The Washington Aqueduct produces and supplies the water that WASA distributes through its pipes to District residents).

WASA has been aggressively monitoring the distribution system to insure that water quality is being maintained and that no adverse affects have resulted due to the addition of orthophosphate.

WASA, which is expected to complete compliance testing of 100 homes during a six month period, is waiting for the results of other compliance water tests before determining whether the orthophosphate addition is successful.

"We anticipate completing the rest of our compliance sampling by early May, " said Johnson.

"We still have a way to go, " he continued. "It’s too early to predict our long term compliance with respect to meeting the standard contained in the Lead and Copper Rule."

According to the rule, 90 percent of the tap samples taken by WASA during back-to-back six-month periods over two years must be below 15 parts per billion before the Authority is in compliance.

See attached chart on lead test results.

Lead test results table

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