Lead in the Environment
Lead is a naturally occurring metal that can be toxic to humans and animals if ingested. It can be found in the air, soil, water, and inside of our homes.
Lead has been used in many products found around the home in the form of paint, ceramics, plumbing materials, gasoline, batteries, and cosmetics. When lead is released into the air, it can travel long distances before settling to the ground.
Lead and Drinking Water
Although the majority of lead exposure comes from sources around the home and in the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that between 10 - 20% of lead exposure comes from drinking water.
Stoughton’s water does not have lead present when it leaves our wells, but can be contaminated as it travels through lead service pipes that have started to corrode over time. You can easily determine if your water service line is lead by inspecting the water line entering your home from the street, usually located in the basement.
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the amount of lead that enters your drinking water, including the corosivity of the water, the temperature of the water as it passes through the pipes,
and the length of time the water stays in the pipes. Hot water and water that has been sitting in the pipes for long periods of time are more likely to pick up contaminants from the pipes and fixtures.
What Stoughton Utilities is Doing About Lead
Stoughton Utilities is viewing this as an opportunity to continue to further educate the community about the danger of lead and what they can do to determine if their home is affected to minimize any risk,
as well as develop ways for the utility and municipality to eliminate lead from the drinking water system.
Stoughton Utilities tests the drinking water each year for contaminants, including lead, to ensure that your drinking water continues to be safe to drink. In 2019, six homes returned samples that contained elevated levels of lead.
The results from these tests are published yearly in a Consumer Confidence Report. Please click here to view the current Consumer Confidence Report
Each year, Stoughton Utilities works to replace some of the water service lines throughout the city that have lead service laterals. In 2019, the utility removed nearly 15% of known public lead service lines.
Another 5% of known public lead service lines will be replaced in 2020. This effort will continue until all lead has been removed from the public drinking water system.
When Stoughton Utilities is replacing underground infrastructure in your area, you may be notified by letter to encourage
you to replace your privately owned portion of the water service line at the same time. Your costs will generally be lower if you choose to replace your water service line at the same time.
Stoughton Utilities is in the process of working with the Stoughton Utilities Committee and Stoughton City Council to enact a new ordinance that will declare lead service lines as a public nuisance and mandate the
replacement of all public and privately-owned lead service lines.
We are working closely with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in an effort to obtain grant funding for lead service line replacements in 2021. To align with this effort, the utility is working to
develop a mechanism for the work completed by homeowners to replace their privately-owned lead service lines in 2020 to be eligible for potential full or partial reimbursement of expenses. Please note that the utility
is diligently working to be grant-eligible and to receive grant funding, but there is no guarantee of reimbursement of any costs.
Health Effects of Lead
Lead is dangerous, and children and expectant mothers are more susceptible to its effects.
Is My Home Affected?
Lead can enter your drinking water by coming into contact with plumbing materials that contain lead.
What You Can Do
Learn more about what you can do to reduce your exposure to lead in your drinking water.
Water Testing Resources
To have the water tested at your home, please contact one of the following certified laboratories in the area:
• Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene
• Northern Lake Service, Inc.
To learn more about the potential health effects of lead and how you can have your child’s blood tested, please contact either:
• Wisconsin Division of Public Health
• Public Health Madison & Dane County
The National Lead Information Center can answer your questions and send you more general information regarding lead and lead hazards. They can be contacted by calling (800) 424-LEAD (5323).
To learn more about reducing lead exposure around your home or business, please visit the EPA’s website at epa.gov/lead
To view Stoughton’s most recent Water Quality Report, please click here to access ccr.stoughtonutilities.com
For additional information, or if you have questions that weren't answered here, please contact us