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How to test your home's water for lead

Posted at 9:34 PM, Apr 26, 2016

It was one thing when just Flint, Michigan was struggling with a water crisis.

Now, other communities are struggling with contaminated water as well, and people everywhere are growing concerned.

Rochelle Hensley is a mom who wants everyone to have safe food and water here in her home. Like a lot of parents, she was disturbed by news of Flint's lead poisoning crisis.

"The biggest concern is having young children, and hearing about lead poisoning," Hensley said.

"It just seems unbelievable. You trust your water is healthy for your kids, and it's scary to that it might not be," she said.

The EPA blames something called "aggressive water" for the most recent crisis in Sebring, pointing to corrosive water that leaches lead and copper right out of older pipes.

What You Can Do


You can test your water for mineralswith simple kits sold at Amazon, local hardware stores, Lowes, and Home Depot.

We bought an inexpensive "H2-OK Kit"for $10, then tested Hensley's water for metals and minerals, even acidity. A better version, with full lead test, sells for $25.

Back at home, Rachelle Hensley is thrilled that her water is safe.

"I'm feeling a little bit better, yeah," she said.

How to Check Your Pipes

But if you are still concerned you might have lead pipes coming into your home, there's a simple test you can do, and all you need is a penny or a quarter.

A YouTube video, courtesy the Severn Trent Water District, shows how to do a simple scrape test  of the water pipe coming into your home.CLICK HERE to see the video.

You will find the pipe in the basement or garage, on an inside wall, before the water gets to the meter.

First scrape off any paint or dirt.  Then scrape the surface.  

  • If it's lead, it will be soft, and very easy to scrape down to shiny silver. You can almost scrape a lead pipe with your fingernail.
  • Galvanized steel or copper pipes won't scrape down to silver. In addition, copper pipes are typically brown, and are the safest water pipes you can have.
  • Plastic pipes are usually blue or yellow, and are obvious that they are plastic


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