What's in my water?

Learn where your water comes from, how lead ends up in your drinking water and how to take a sample of your drinking water at home.

How To Fill a Water Sample Kit at Home

Where does our nation’s drinking water come from?

  • 70% surface water (stream, river, lake, reservoir, ocean, etc.)
  • 30% groundwater (water located below the surface of the earth)

Your local water utility then treats this “source” water at a plant to ensure it is safe to drink. There are a variety of treatment measures that can be used to ensure lead and other contaminants are not present at unsafe levels.

How does lead end up in our drinking water?

Water itself does not contain lead. Lead is present in pipes and fixtures and can corrode or dissolve into water due to minerals in the water, its temperature, how long it has been sitting in the pipe, age of the pipe, etc. There are 3 main lead sources in plumbing:

  • Lead service lines (These were not federally banned for use until 1986)


  • Lead solder or goosenecks (These were also not federally banned until 1986)


  • Plumbing fixtures (“non-lead” faucets, valves and other fixtures were allowed to be manufactured with levels of lead in the materials until 2014)