The change comes as part of the utility's long-term Lead Reduction Program.
You may notice a difference in your water over the next couple of weeks due to an adjustment in the pH levels of the water delivered by Denver Water. This change is part of Denver Water’s effort to make the water system less acidic.
According to the utility, the upcoming change in pH is part of the $500-million Lead Reduction Program, which was approved in December 2019 by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health. Older pipes made of lead make up between 64,000 and 84,000 customer-owned lines that Denver Water services. The utility plans to replace all the lead service lines at no charge to customers over the next 15 years.
The pH level in water is a measurement of how acidic/basic the water is. The pH means "potential of hydrogen", or the amount of hydrogen found in the water, and that is measured on a scale of 0-14, with 7 being neutral, a balance between alkalinity and acid. The water in the pipes is lead-free, but the corrosivity of the water in older pipes and service lines made of lead and lead parts can cause lead to leak into the water.
The adjustment will change the pH of the water delivered to customers from the current levels between 7.5 and 8.5, with a target of 7.5. The pH will be increased to between 8.5 and 9.2, with a target of 8.8. Colorado Department of Health says there are no health risks associated with drinking water with a pH level of 8.8.
Denver Water will use the compound sodium hydroxide to regulate the pH level in the water, which is a commonly used method in drinking water treatment. The change will not happen all at once, however. It will take several days for the whole system to be filtered through. Denver Water says that customers may notice water feeling more “slippery," but says there should be no change to taste or color of the water.
If you're not sure if your water is served by Denver Water, please see their service area webpage for more information. Anyone concerned about lead in their water should request a water quality test from their water service provider. Running the water for a few minutes to flush it out, cleaning faucets and faucet screens, and using filters are steps individuals can take if they are worried about possible lead in their water.
Did you know about Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program? Let us know what you think in the comments.