- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) - Customers in one Calcasieu Parish water district have been notified that samples taken from three homes last year had elevated levels of lead.

The lead is coming from plumbing within the houses- not from Waterworks District 5, operations chief Terry Frelot, told The American Press (http://bit.ly/1cJ8m1K).

He said the district’s pipes are plastic but some houses built before 1991 may have pipes that are made of or soldered with lead.

“The water is drinkable now,” Frelot said.

He said three of 20 samples from homes - 10 percent - had lead levels above the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard of 15 parts per billion.

He said the district is researching the best way to treat the water. Some chemicals added at the plant “will line the pipe to seal off those pipes that have lead in them,” Frelot said.

Calcasieu Parish has about 194,500 residents in nearly 73,000 households. Waterworks District 5 has about 1,400 customers.

The district must now test for lead twice a year rather than every three years, and must double the number of homes it checks, Frelot said. Once two six-month tests show lead levels below 15 parts per billion, the testing schedule will return to once every three years.

Homeowners are responsible for changing any pipes that may contain lead, Frelot said.

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Online:

www.epa.gov/lead

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Information from: American Press, http://www.americanpress.com

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