Author Topic: Lead in water  (Read 1516 times)

Captain Cactus

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Lead in water
« on: April 01, 2017, 03:01:47 PM »
My wife and I are buying a house for our primary residence.  We have been renting and after June we have to move (landlord sold to somebody who's going to knock it down and build another house).

We found a house, beautiful, we love it.  Did the inspection and found that there is lead in the water.  House built in 1985.  They found that it is linked to somewhere in the house, not in the well.

What options exist to fix this?  How much would these options cost?  Other thoughts?

Please help!  Thank you, CC

Rocket

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2017, 03:17:41 PM »
Lead lined pipes?  I'd want the house re-piped if that was the case before buying.

Hargrove

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2017, 03:33:46 PM »
Ouch. Lead pipes were banned in 1986.

Honestly I wouldn't even bother with it. You'd have to replace basically everything to be sure. I don't know if there's a DIY plumber who could give a quote if you're up for doing it yourself, but having a trade plumber do it would be awfully expensive.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 03:35:44 PM by Hargrove »

tralfamadorian

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2017, 04:21:20 PM »
Depending on your location and the value of the house replacing the plumbing may not be the end of the world.  PEX can be installed without doing major drywall work.  Also whether there the underside of the pipes are accessible is important- basement or crawlspace(preferable) vs slab(expensive)- will make a big difference.  Price will vary widely on the size of the home, the foundation and your location.  2k-15k+. 

Personally, I would ask the sellers to replace the pipes before closing; a house falling out of contract due to lead doesn't sound very good so you have some leverage. 

Captain Cactus

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2017, 05:00:43 PM »
we are asking the sellers to fix, but just wondering if they'll come back and say filters would adequately fix the problem..  Sellers are retired and want to move to Vermont so I think we have some leverage to get pipes replaced.  Flexible plastic pipes sound great. 

2000 sf house in eastern Connecticut.  Has an unfinished basement.

If it's a $20,000 job, the sellers might just do it just so they can move on with their lives.  Either they fix it now or later, right?  Filters are just a temporary fix.

I just want to know:  if the lead pipes are replaced, there shouldn't be lead in water, right?  My wife seems to think that it might not fix the problem and she is super paranoid.

Jon Bon

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2017, 05:15:57 PM »
OK lets take a step back here.

What kind of evidence do you have that there is lead in the water? Did you have it independently tested? Is that common in your area? How bad was the contamination. Most things like this are not black and white. A quick google search shows 15 PPB is the EPA limit. So if you have 16PPB I would not be overly concerned. If you have 150PPB then yeah I would be pretty worried.

Also a house built in 1985 with lead lined pipes? That feels rather surprising. Usually a ban is on the books years in advance and gives the industry time to adapt. I guess its possible that lead pipes were still installed in homes in 1985, but feels unlikely?

Lastly Home Inspectors, there has been lots written about home inspectors, most of it bad. The general consensus on many sites is that they often know just enough to be dangerous but dont add value. Their specialty is often finding 'issues' legitimate and otherwise kill lots of deals on perfectly fine houses. So you mentioned an inspection below, what kind of inspection are we talking here? Someone who specializes in water issues? Or just a random home inspector who only needed 40 hours of classes to get certified?

I don't want to minimize your concern, lead pipes would be a BFD, but it just feels strange that a house of that age would have lead pipes. Give us more info and we can help. Specifically Paddedhat, that guy knows EVERYTHING about houses.



Source:
https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water#findout

Cwadda

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2017, 08:50:42 PM »
Former industrial hygiene environmental consultant here, also from eastern CT lol.

I have a lot of questions.

How did they test the water? Did they test the rest of the house for lead? If not, why not? Was it a licensed lead inspector? Were samples sent to the lab? To me, data from a general home inspector is meaningless. The only ways to reliably test for lead are either by X-ray fluorescence or by chemical testing done by a laboratory. I recommend Phoenix Environmental in Manchester, btw.

Are you on sewer or septic?

Have there ever been any children under the age of 6 living in the house?

Unrelated: have you verified with the seller that the foundation was not poured by J.J. Motis construction?

Indio

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2017, 09:15:12 PM »
From CT here too.
That foundation problem is a really nasty one. NPR covered it a few months ago.
Regarding lead in water, i did research a while back and found that faucets also have lead in them, though not sure which part of the faucet. I have whole house filter that takes lead out and then filter drinking and bathroom water again to be certain.
Are you certain well water is not source of lead instead of pipes?
Regarding epa standards, they are always lowering them over time so I always aim for lowest level I can achieve. A decade ago they were ridiculously high.
Also, make sure you check for radon in basement.

Captain Cactus

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2017, 05:43:32 AM »
Thank you for replying!

The home inspector took the water samples and sent them to a lab.  He didn't do the testing himself.

At this point after the initial findings they have identified that the issue is within the house, not the well. Additional testing was done.   Additional samples have now been taken to try to get a better idea of what faucets/pipes are the issue.  Hopefully they can narrow things down.

The house is septic, not sewer.

The lead levels are .08 vs the "acceptable" .015.

I have two children under the age of six (one turns six next month).  They have children that would have lived there years ago but are now adults.

I'm suspecting lead solder vs lead pipes, given the age of the house.  My hope is that we can pinpoint the issue.  If not, how much would it cost to replace the bathroom/kitchen pipes?  Basement is unfinished.  $15,000? I'd be ok with paying that as long as they take it off the sale price.   Supposedly the sellers have agreed to repair, knowing that filters are not acceptable to us because they're not a permenant fix, though they don't have a solid plan in place since talking with their water company.

The foundation issue is no joke.  In my opinion it has severely impacted the eastern Connecticut real estate market.  People aren't buying/selling like they used to do the inventory is sparse.

Side note: great to see other people in Connecticut on here.  Didnt know you existed!

Hargrove

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2017, 03:39:15 PM »
Side note: great to see other people in Connecticut on here.  Didnt know you existed!

Haha, me either. I'm western half, though. I love roads and clean drinking water and police and firemen, but this state is getting tough to justify staying in with the taxes and housing prices. I hear east side is a bit less insane. Western has only Waterbury and Torrington.

That lead level is a little scary. If they take it off the cost, hey, whatever, just make sure it's fixed before you take a house like that.

Indio

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 07:14:07 PM »
Rather than have them take it off price of house and then find out once you start work that it costs way more than estimated, because a problem was found during the repair, you could have them escrow the funds double the esitmate with your attorney. After the job is done, pay plumber directly from escrow and leftover goes back to seller.

nickybecky1

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2017, 01:41:47 PM »
We re-piped when we bought our house because the galvanized pipes were rusting out. It was over a crawl space and they did it in one day for the house and one day for the line from water line to the house. It cost <$5000. If the unfinished basement has the exposed pipes, they'll be in and out in a jiffy. You can replace the faucets too and, if it's definitely not in the water source, you should be good!

Jon Bon

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2017, 05:54:00 AM »
Read MMM posts on how to work with PEX. I believe he re-piped his entire house for $500 in material.

Pex is frankly a miracle when it comes to plumbing, if you can change a light bulb you can probably run Pex, its nearly idiot proof. And if you do mess up its super easy to start again.

In terms of cost to have this done it really depends on your house. If you are in a 1 story ranch with a full basement this would be a cheap and easy job. If you are in a 2 story house on a slab or over a crawl with 3 bathrooms on the 2nd level, then its gonna be expensive and messy.

Captain Cactus

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2017, 03:50:34 PM »
Recent tests suggest that the problem may be limited to a faucet.  Will be testing other faucets.  Will keep you posted!

Cwadda

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Re: Lead in water
« Reply #14 on: April 07, 2017, 12:49:28 PM »
Recent tests suggest that the problem may be limited to a faucet.  Will be testing other faucets.  Will keep you posted!

I found lead commonly in bathroom fixtures; namely sinks, tubs, and toilets. They were old and had significant lead content. I hope this is the case for you!