How Lead Gets Into Drinking Water

KPUD's compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act means that our source water and distribution systems are "lead free." Although lead is naturally occurring in the environment, it is typically at trace amounts or even non-detectible. That is the case in Kitsap County, where naturally occurring lead in soils and groundwater are at very low concentrations and are not the source of lead in water.

Infographic depicting how lead gets into drinking water
Image courtesy of EPA. Original image can be found online at

So, how does lead get into drinking water?

Lead can enter drinking water when a chemical reaction occurs in plumbing materials that contain lead. This is known as corrosion — dissolving or wearing-away of metal from the pipes and fixtures. 

The most common sources of lead in drinking water are corrosion of lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In homes with lead pipes that connect the home to the water main, also known as lead services lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water. Lead pipes are more likely to be found in older cities and homes built before 1986, when lead-free materials were not yet required for plumbing. Based on historical data, lead service lines are likely less prevalent in the KPUD service areas as compared to other locations across the country.

At KPUD, we are proud of our record of meeting or exceeding public health standards. We routinely test for lead in water, and we are developing a lead service line inventory to identify if any homes are at risk for lead in the water. We are committed to working towards a future where lead service lines are gone from the communities we serve. Providing safe drinking water to you is our highest priority, and lead can be a serious public health concern.

Over the next year, KPUD will be reaching out to our customers to talk about lead and how you can help identify lead sources.