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U.S. EPA orders Wickenburg water systems to correct lead problem

Release Date: 12/30/2003
Contact Information: Laura Gentile, 415/947-4227 (

Public water systems must monitor water source and examine pipes

SAN FRANCISCO -- Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered two public water systems in Wickenburg, Ariz. to determine how lead contaminated their drinking water and correct the problem, as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Two samples collected at the public water systems for the Remuda Ranch Center exceeded the EPA's action level for lead of 15 parts per billion. Of 10 samples collected, lead was detected in two samples at concentrations of 54 and 45 parts per billion, respectively.

The water systems, which serve 160 people, are required to come up with a plan to correct the problem by July 2004.

Remuda Ranch is required to examine system piping, monitor its water sources and conduct public education for the community. Remuda Ranch is also required to develop a plan to control corrosion from system pipes, a major cause of lead contamination.

"Consumers must be assured the water coming from their kitchen faucets is safe and lead-free," said Alexis Strauss, director of the EPA's Water Division. "This order will ensure that Remuda Ranch promptly fixes its current problems and prevents future ones."

Since 1993, the EPA has required small public water systems to monitor drinking water regularly for lead and copper. If contaminants are detected, systems are required to correct the problem through treatment or pipe replacement.

The EPA has determined that lead can pose a health concern at certain exposure levels. Relatively low levels of lead can cause high blood pressure and kidney problems in adults. In children and infants, lead has been linked to delays in physical and mental development, including learning disabilities.