Lead Water Testing

Although we verify during the general inspection if your incoming water supply line from the street is lead, we can’t determine if it is lead up stream from that in the city’s system or if there is lead in your plumbing’s solder joints that is leaching out into the home’s water supply. But for an additional fee we can test for lead presence and concentration levels in your city water supply.

As we all know, Lead is a toxin and small children or pregnant mother exposure to it can negatively impact the child’s health, nervous system, and potentially their cognitive development. It is a known fact that older sections of the Cleveland public water supply are still comprised of lead pipes. The City does add a chemical to the water supply that forms a coating on the inside diameter of the lead water pipes in an effort to prevent the lead from leaching into the water supply. How effective this treatment is may not be completely known with 100% accuracy.

It is also known that some homes in Cuyahoga County still have water supply lines from the city street main line to the home that are lead. There is also a possibility that some in home older water pipe solder connections contain lead that may come into contact with the home’s water. These are all good reasons to have the home’s water tested for lead before you buy the home. If the results come back greater than 15 parts per billion (the upper limit the EPA recommends for Lead concentration in potable water), then that’s the time to know – BEFORE you have bought the home, not after – so it can be addressed and the cost to correct negotiated with the Seller.

Unfortunately none of the Real Estate Broker Buyer purchase agreements in North East Ohio have this specific option as a pre-purchase Inspection item for the Buyer to select as part of their choices for inspections to be performed.

However, marking “other” or “any other inspections recommended by the inspector” on the purchase agreement when submitting an offer to the Seller may be a wise move.  This way there would be no argument from the Seller or Seller’s Agent when the Home Inspector recommends or asks if the Buyer would like to have the home’s water tested for Lead (or any other add on inspection such as a sanitary sewer line camera inspection or mold test) when reviewing with the Buyer either verbally or via email what inspections they would like to have done – which of course is BACKWARDS because how would the Buyer know what inspections they should consider be performed until they have had communication with their Inspector?

At Detailed Home Inspections we recommend testing for lead in the home’s water if the home is in Cuyahoga county and built before 1960.

Here are links to some helpful information about lead in drinking water from the EPA and the Cleveland Water Department.