Potable water treatment plants spend millions of dollars each year on filters, chemicals and aeration to purify the surface waters and groundwaters of the United States and rid tap water of harmful contaminants. However, municipal water systems only can guarantee the purity of water up to the service connection. It is important that service lines from the supply pipeline (i.e., water main) to the end user are composed of materials that protect the integrity of the water. Using low-lead brass fittings in the service lines is a simple and low-cost method of eliminating lead, one of the most harmful pollutants, from tap water. This paper discusses the need for low-lead service fittings; reviews the terms “no lead,” “low lead” and “lead-free”; and examines some of the principal protection choices for water service pipeline systems.
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