Drinking Water Quality Report

2015 water quality report. It contains a lot of good information. The 2016 report does not come out until this July.

The statement below is from CWD and was sent to all Mayors.

Dear Mayors, 

With recent attention on lead in drinking water, we understand why some residents may have questions and concerns. Rest assured, we have been hard at work to ensure the water we deliver to our 1.4 million customers meets and exceeds all Federal and State regulations – including those related to lead.

As we have discussed before, Cleveland Water began adding a chemical called orthophosphate to our drinking water about twenty years ago. Orthophosphate is an anti-corrosive that forms a thin barrier on the inside of our water mains, service connections, and customers’ at-home plumbing to prevent lead from leaching into drinking water. It has proven to be an incredibly effective treatment technique; and, our lead testing results are consistently below the action level outlined by the lead and copper rule.

We understand that even with this protection, it is important to be transparent with our customers and provide them with information. Over the past several months, we have distributed materials outlining how our treatment process has been optimized to reduce risks associated with lead in drinking water; describing how customers can check their at-home plumbing to see if it is made of lead; and providing some precautions customers can take if they are concerned about lead in their drinking water.

This week, we will be adding another tool to help empower customers with information regarding this important topic. We have created a new, online search tool giving customers the ability to determine if their “cityside connection” is made of lead. Lead was a common material used prior to the 1960’s to connect homes to the Cleveland Water System. This is the pipe that runs from the water main in the street to customers’ homes and businesses. These connections include a portion on private property for which the property owner is responsible and a portion for which the water system is responsible. In the nearly 70 communities Cleveland Water provides Direct Service to, the portion maintained by Cleveland Water is referred to as a cityside connection.

We do not have complete information about what is on private property, but we have completed a review of the piping maintained by Cleveland Water. Although the majority of cityside connections are likely made of materials other than lead, the Cleveland Water System does contain some cityside lead connections. Customers can utilize the on-line search tool to determine if the portion of the connection for which Cleveland Water is responsible is believed to be lead. In cases where potentially decades-old records were unclear or did not exist, we chose to assume the connection may be lead in order to ensure none were missed.

As a result of this effort, we have data on each community in our service area. We have attached as summary table broken out by community (and a map by Census tract) that shows the total number of connections, the total number that are likely to be lead, and the percentage. One quick note on these numbers; the likely lead connections reported in this table – and by the search tool – are higher than what is actually in the ground. As a part of our review, we have records of approximately 38,000 replacements that were completed between 1986 and the present that we have not yet matched to existing connections. As we continue to work through these records, we will update this table and our online search tool. Additionally, we do not have records of replacements completed between 1954 (when we stopped utilizing lead) and 1986.

We know making this data available will likely generate quite a few questions – for you and from residents. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. If your residents have questions, please let them know information is available on our website at www.clevelandwater.com/lead-treatment, or they can call our Lead Inquiry Line at 216.664.2882. 

Alex Margevicius