WPB Continues Water System Improvements; New Measures Expected to Keep Lead and Copper out of Water, Reduce Corrosion

(Wednesday, October 29, 2008)  As part of the overall effort to improve the quality and reliability of the water system and provide top-quality drinking water to its customers, the City of West Palm Beach will launch a new measure designed to help prevent lead and copper leaching from customer’s pipes into the water and to reduce pipe corrosion.  The measures will begin on Thursday, October 30, 2008.  The City has used anti-corrosion measures in the past, but this new treatment will be a significant improvement over the old system.

The City will gradually introduce a phosphate corrosion control additive into the water supply at the water treatment plant, using a strictly controlled and closely monitored process.  This process is being undertaken with the full cooperation and support of the Palm Beach County Health Department and other regulatory agencies.

Though the City no longer uses lead in water pipes or joints, some water customers with older homes still have lead in their home’s pipes, joints or fixtures.  The City routinely tests its water for the presence of lead, copper and other materials.

“This measure is part of our commitment to having a top-quality water system,” said Mayor Lois J. Frankel.  “We’ll continue to make the necessary investments to improve the quality and reliability of our water supply.”

Water customers are not being asked to take any action as a result of this measure.  Should any water customers notice a slight discoloration of their water immediately after this process begins, they should let their water run for a few minutes until it clears.  Residents with questions or concerns should contact the City’s 24-hour hotline at 561-822-2222.

The anti-corrosion additive is a poly-orthophosphate blend of 70% orthophosphate and 30% polyphosphate.  Orthophosphate forms a protective coating on the inside of pipes in both the distribution system and in customer homes.  The coating can help prevent copper and lead from leaching into drinking water, particularly in homes that have pipes or fixtures containing lead.  Poly-orthophosphate is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and is commonly used to improve water quality and protect water distribution systems.