Release of Lead to Drinking Water from Water Service Connection Valves

Document Type : Technical Note



Lead poisoning is an important water quality parameter. The variety of adverse health effects caused by lead accumulation in the human body warrants the investigation of lead concentrations in drinking water. The presence of lead in drinking water in Iran is mostly due to pipes, fittings, brass or bronze water service connection valves, faucets, and fixtures, and other end use devices. For the purposes of this study, 10 samples of brass or bronze valves, as the major source of lead release in drinking water, were tested to determine the concentration of lead in water released from these devices. The same experiment was also carried out using 9 polypropylene valves recently introduced into the Iranian market. The results showed that lead release from brass or bronze valves was responsible for a major portion of drinking water lead concentrations that ranged from 7 to 700 times its maximum allowable limit for drinking water. In contrast, the amounts released from polypropylene valves into drinking water were found to be much less such that half the samples contained lead levels below the maximum allowable limit.


Main Subjects

1. Esmaili Sari, A. (2001). Pollution, health and environmental standards, 1st Ed., Naghshemehr, Tehran.
(In Persian)
2. U.S. EPA, Office of Water. (2004). Lead and copper rule: A quick reference guide, U.S. EPA, USA.
3- Shams Khoram Abadi, G. (2000). “Study of lead and copper rule in distribution drinking water system and comparison by corrosion index.” Ph.D. Thesis of Environmental Health Engineering, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan. (In Persian)
4. ISIRI. (2008). Drinking water: Physical and chemical specifications, ISIRI 1053, 5th revision, Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran. (In Persian)
5. WHO. (1993). Guidelines for drinking-water quality, 2nd Ed., Volume 1, WHO, USA.
6. Nahid, P., Moslehi, P., and Hesampour, M. (2008). “Heavy metals concentrations on drinking water in different areas of Tehran as ppb and methods of removal them.” J. of Food Science and Technology, 5(1),
29-35. (In Persian)
7. Shahmansouri, M., Pourmoghadas, H., and Shams Khoram Abadi, G. (2002). “Study of metals leakage by pipes internal corrosion of the drinking water distribution networks.”  J. of Research in Medical Sciences, 3, 30-34. (In Persian)
8. Savari J., and Gafarzadeh, N. (2006) “Corrosion study methods comparison in the Ahvaz city water drinking distribution.” The 10th National Congress of Environmental Health, Hamadan University of Medical Sciences, Hamadan, Iran. (In Persian)
9. U.S. EPA. (2009). Safe drinking water act (SDWA), prohibition on use of lead pipes, solder, and flux, Section 1417, U.S. EPA., USA.
10. AWWA. (2001). Underground service line valves and fittings, ANSI/AWWA C800-01, American Water Works Association, USA.
11. ASTM. (2000). Standard specification for copper alloy sand castings for general applications, ASTM B584, ASTM International.
12.ASTM. (2002). Standard specification for composition bronze or ounce metal castings, ASTM B62, ASTM International.
13. DIN. (1999). Copper-alloy stop valve for potable water supply in buildings, test and requirements, DIN EN 1213.
14. BSI. (2010). Industrial valves- copper alloy gate valve, BS EN 12288, British Standard Institution.
15. BSI. (1991). Suitability of metallic materials for use in contact with water intended for human consumption with regard to their effect on the quality of the water, BSI DD201, British Standard Institution.
16. BSI. (2000). Suitability of non-metallic products for use in contact with water intended for human consumption with regard to their effect on the quality of the water, BS 6920, British Standard Institution.
17. DIN. (2007). Copper and copper alloys - analysis by spark source optical emission spectrometry
(S-OES), DIN EN 15079.