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  • Drinking Water Watch – public access drinking water database to find information about public water systems in Kentucky (does not include bottled water or semipublic water systems, which must be contacted directly). 
  • Contact your local water system. If you don't know the name of your local public water system, you can find it through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Information System. Ask for the Consumer Confidence Report (CCR), also called the Water Quality Report, which is distributed by your local water provider each year between January and July 1st. The CCR provides a report card of your tap water for the previous year and lists ways you can become involved in helping protect drinking water. Some CCRs are also posted on the EPA’s CCR webpage.

Ask the water system other questions about your tap water. Be sure to check monthly bills for Public Notices​ and electronic delivery of the CCR. ​

​​​     Lead can enter drinking water when service pipes and plumbing fixtures that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder, from which significant amounts of lead can enter into the water, especially hot water.

     The older the home, the more likely it is to have lead pipes, fixtures, and solder. In particular, homes built before 1988 were built before the maximum allowable lead content was lowered in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). Newer homes are most likely to comply with the public health goal of zero lead in pipes and fixtures.

     Corrosion is a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. A number of factors are involved in the extent to which lead enters the water, including:

  • the chemistry of the water (acidity and alkalinity) and the types and amounts of minerals in the water,

  • ​the amount of lead it comes into contact with,

  • the temperature of the water,

  • the amount of wear in the pipes,

  • how long the water stays in pipes, and

  • the presence of protective scales or coatings inside the plumbing materials.

To address corrosion of lead and copper into drinking water, EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) under the authority of the SDWA. This rule was updated in 2021 in the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR). One requirement of both the LCR and LCRR is that water systems add corrosion control treatment, to prevent lead and copper from contaminating drinking water. Corrosion control treatment means utilities must make drinking water less corrosive to the materials it comes into contact with on its way to consumers' taps.

     I​n addition to corrosion control treatment, the LCRR adds stricter requirements for locating and removing lead pipes. Drinking water systems are reaching out to their customers to help locate all the lead service lines (the pipe that connects a customer's home or building to the water system's main lines), and to develop a plan to replace those lead service lines.

What is Kentucky doing to protect consumers from lead in drinking water?

     Kentucky Division of Water (DOW) is supporting water systems in several ways. DOW offers technical assistance to water systems to maximize the corrosion control treatment. DOW has also provide resources and guidance to water systems to remove lead service lines; check out the 'Lead and Copper Rule Revisions' tab. Through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, Kentucky water systems can apply for loans and grants to help fund removal of lead service lines.

     Kentucky is also using grant funding from the EPA through a Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act grant to help identify where lead may occur in schools – part of the Lead in Drinking Water Reduction program. Because children are most at risk of lead poisoning, this program can provide schools with information needed to reduce the risk of lead to schoolchildren.

Stakeholders, including water systems and community organizations, can participate in the Lead in Drinking Water workgroup, part of the Drinking Water Advisory Workgroup. Members of the public are welcome and encouraged to participate in this workgroup. ​​

Assemble a family disaster supply kit. Include water, food, first aid supplies, clothing, bedding, tools and any special medications. Place in a portable container such as a large covered trash can, a large cooler, a camping backpack or a duffel bag.

Stock up on bottled water. Store at least three gallons of water per person.
More resources:

Emergency Disinfection of Drinking Water

Boiling - Vigorously boil water for three minutes to kill disease-causing microorganisms present in water. Allow the boiled water to stand for a few hours or add a pinch of salt for each quart of water boiled to alleviate the flat taste.

Chemical Treatment - Use household chlorine bleach according to the directions on the label to disinfect water (8 drops per gallon). Mix well and allow to stand at least 30 minutes. If the tap water is cloudy, filter it with a clean cloth and add 16 drops per gallon. Chlorine tablets for drinking water disinfection are also readily available for purchase. Iodine drops and tablets are also viable disinfectants. Use two drops (or one tablet) per quart.

More resources:

The 1996 Amendments of the Safe Drinking Water Act established numerous "right-to-know" provisions to give customers of public water systems greater access to information and opportunities to get involved in drinking water issues. The right-to-know provisions are based on the premise that accountability to the public is vital to address and prevent threats to drinking water. Here are just a few ways you can get involved.

Water Quality at the Tap

Know and Protect your Drinking Water Source

In 1997, the Division of Water launched its watershed management program.  This program was a public outreach effort to promote the new watershed management plan and enlist volunteers to help in the assessment of the waterways in Kentucky. Since 1997, Watershed Watch in Kentucky has trained nearly 4,000 volunteers and currently has approximately 2,000 volunteers that continue to sample across the state. There are monitoring stations in Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee.

Watershed Watch offers training to citizens interested in water quality. Volunteers are trained on how to take a qualified water sample that is analyzed by professional labs. They are also trained on how to perform basic water quality field data, consisting of dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and conductivity. Volunteers can also be trained to perform biological and habitat assessments. To learn more about this and other outreach programs, visit our Community Outreach page.

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) was established by the 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Amendments and authorizes the state to use federal money to provide loan assistance to eligible public water systems to ensure safe drinking water as a public health concern under SDWA requirements. Public participation in the program is encouraged. The public may participate in reviewing and commenting on the DWSRF program, the Intended Use Plan [1022 KB] and Capacity Development. Public review includes:

  1. The short- and long-term goals of the DWSRF program.
  2. The priority system used for ranking individual projects (refer to the Intended Use Plan (IUP).
  3. The priority lists of projects.
  4. The financial status of the DWSRF program.
  5. A description of the amounts and intended uses of funds that the state will use for set-aside activities.
  6. The strategy, effectiveness and elements of capacity development.
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