Providence Water, although a department of the City of Providence, is regulated by state and federal agencies in addition to city policies and procedures. The quality of our treated drinking water is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Rhode Island Department of Health. Our revenue and rate structure is regulated by the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.

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Lead and Drinking Water


View Lead Service Location Map

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER

Providence Water found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Please read this information closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water.

Health Effects of Lead

Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother's bones, which may affect brain development.

Where We Stand

In the first half of 2018, Providence Water's 90th percentile level was 11 parts per billion (ppb), which is below the lead action limit of 15 ppb.

Providence Water is currently in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule. EPA's Lead and Copper Rule establishes action levels (AL) of 15 ug/L for lead and 1.3 mg/L for copper based on 90th percentile level of tap water samples. An AL exceedance is not a violation but can trigger other requirements that include water quality parameter (WQP) monitoring, corrosion control treatment (CCT), source water monitoring/treatment, public education, and lead service line replacement (LSLR).

  90th percentile
Lead, ug/l
90th percentile
Copper, mg/l
year 1st period 2nd period Action Level 1st period 2nd period Action Level
19971 11 14 >15 0.049 0.031 >1.3
19982 10 >15 0.037 >1.3
1999 10 >15 0.043 >1.3
2000 10 >15 0.038 >1.3
2002-20033 13 >15 0.039 >1.3
2005 11 >15 0.031 >1.3
20064 23 >15 0.078 >1.3
2007 20 21 >15 0.107 0.056 >1.3
2008 14 21 >15 0.087 0.045 >1.3
2009 16 30 >15 0.096 0.070 >1.3
2010 21 20 >15 0.060 0.040 >1.3
2011 15 21 >15 0.060 0.040 >1.3
2012 14 25 >15 0.050 0.037 >1.3
20135 13 30 >15 0.039 0.022 >1.3
2014 10 16 >15 0.032 0.023 >1.3
2015 9 15 >15 0.027 0.015 >1.3
2016 13 16 >15 0.020 0.016 >1.3
2017 14 17 >15 0.022 0.015 >1.3
2018 11 NA >15 0.019 NA >1.3

1 Initial round of compliance sampling per US EPA's Lead & Copper Rule.

2 PW reduced to annual sampling as approved by RIDOH.

3 PW reduced to triennial sampling as approved by RIDOH.

4 Annual sampling required as a result of treatment change (slight decrease in pH and alkalinity) implemented in Sept. 2005.

5 PW implemented treatment change (increase in pH and alkalinity) and began unidirectional flushing program.