Jerry Andree, Township Manager

Jerry Andree, Township Manager

No level of government has more impact on daily life than local government. That’s why my colleagues and I at Cranberry Township are passionate about pushing the limits of excellence to provide the best possible services to our residents and customers. However, being well-served is not a passive achievement; it is a collective undertaking. Through this blog, we offer our personal reflections on that assignment. And we hope it will help engage you in joining us on that same collaborative mission.

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Jan 25

Getting the lead out

Posted on January 25, 2016 at 4:16 PM by Jerry Andree

Each spring Cranberry, like every other supplier of drinking water, issues a report to its customers on the results of lab tests that look for all sorts of potential contaminants, including lead.  And for decades our tests haven’t detected any lead at all.  Our recent report is here.

But the current crisis in Flint, Michigan, where lead in the drinking water has reached dangerous levels, has alarmed people all over the country.  In just the past few days, I’ve received a dozen calls from our own residents asking if that could happen here.  And the answer is no.  Why?

Generally, lead in tap water doesn’t actually come from the water source, it results from corrosion of old pipes used to distribute the water and from household plumbing fixtures that contain lead, including lead solder.  Corrosives in the water result from inadequate treatment at the water plant.  

Lead used to be a common alloy in pipes and solder back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when many municipal water systems were first constructed.  But when health problems linked to lead became known, its use was discontinued, and there hasn’t been any lead in new plumbing for decades.  In fact, for the past 30 years, it’s been illegal to have lead in any component of drinking water systems.  But communities whose buildings and water systems were built before the transition have the potential for problems like the one in Flint.

Cranberry didn’t introduce municipal water service until about 60 years ago.  By that time, pipe composition had already begun to change.  Today, the water lines in Cranberry are made of either cast iron, copper or plastic, none of which contain lead.  Beyond that, the West View Water Authority, from whom we buy all of our drinking water, continually tests for conditions that could cause corrosion, including pH levels.

Beyond that, we have been testing for lead and other potential contaminants in some of our older homes in Cranberry for decades, and we’ve never found a detectable level.  So rest assured that lead is not now, and is unlikely to ever become, a problem in Cranberry’s drinking water. 

That said, however, we will remain vigilant for lead as well as for other impurities and we will do everything we can to ensure our residents of a high quality water supply for generations to come.

I would love to hear your thoughts about our water system.  You can write to me at:Jerry Andree.

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