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water quality update

This notice is brought to you by Port Everglades. 
State Water System ID#: 4061603 
Date: August 29, 2016

Important Information About Lead in Your Drinking Water 

Port Everglades found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger. Please read this notice 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. 

Sources of Lead 

Lead is a common metal found in the environment. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure. The main sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil, and some plumbing materials. In addition, lead can be found in certain types of pottery, pewter, brass fixtures, food, and cosmetics. Other sources include exposure in the work place and exposure from certain hobbies (lead can be carried on clothing or shoes). 

The Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, requires plumbing fixtures manufactured after January 4, 2014 to be “lead free” and have a maximum lead content of 0.25 percent lead. Prior to the passage of the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” were allowed to contain up to 8 percent lead. Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.

The Port receives its water from the City of Fort Lauderdale. The water supplied by the City of Fort Lauderdale does not contain lead. When water is in contact with distribution system pipes (owned by the Port), or service lines (i.e., the property owner’s pipe that connects to the Port’s piping) or the property owner’s plumbing (i.e., faucets and piping within the property owner’s building) that contains lead for several hours, the lead may enter drinking water. Buildings built before 1986 are more likely to have plumbing containing lead. New buildings may also have lead; even “lead-free” plumbing may contain some lead.

EPA estimates that 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water. Infants who consume mostly formula mixed with lead-containing water can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water. 

Don’t forget about other sources of lead such as lead paint, lead dust, and lead in soil. Wash your children’s hands and toys often as they can come into contact with dirt and dust containing lead.

Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Exposure To Lead In Your Water 

1. Run your water to flush out lead. Run water for 15-30 seconds or until it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking, if it hasn’t been used for several hours. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes.

2. Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula. 

3. Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead. 

4. Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. 

5. Test your water for lead. Call us at 954-468-3509 to find out how to get your water tested for lead. The City of Fort Lauderdale collects samples and performs lead and copper testing at ten locations within the Port. The lead and copper testing is currently conducted every three years. However, the testing for lead and copper will be performed more frequently going forward due to the elevated level of lead detected in July 2016. 

Private laboratories that are certified by the State of Florida are locally available to test your water for lead. The fees and time required for testing the water varies from lab to lab.

6. Get your child tested. Contact your local health department or healthcare provider to find out how you can get your child tested for lead if you are concerned about exposure. 

7. Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. New brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. Up until 2014, the law allowed end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8% lead to be labeled as “lead free.” Visit the National Sanitation Foundation Web site at www.nsf.org to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures. 

What Happened? 

During our triennial, once every three years, testing conducted in July of 2016 we discovered that there were elevated levels of lead in the drinking water in two buildings (Public Works – 2101 Eisenhower Blvd and Administration Building 1850 Eller Drive).  As soon as we became aware of the issue, we began taking corrective actions. These actions are described in the section titled “What is Being Done?”

In late 2009 / early 2010, the Port’s system identified elevated levels of lead in the drinking water at the following locations: 

  • 1850 Eller Drive (Port Administration Building)
  • 3400 McIntosh Blvd (Foreign-Trade Zone office)
  • 2101 Eisenhower Blvd (Public Works Building)
  • 2020 Eller Drive (Operations Building)
  • 2050 SE 42 Street (Crane Building)
  • 2024 Eller Drive (Terminal 24)
  • 4500 SE 20th Avenue

Corrective action started in late 2009 resolved this issue. Test results from June 2011, June 2012, and June 2013 showed levels far below the lead action level. In 2013 the Port was allowed to reduce its testing frequency to once every three years due to the consistent low lead levels from June 2011 to June 2013.

What is Being Done? 

We are in the process of hiring a nationally recognized water consultant to conduct a study of the entire water distribution system and other appropriate corrective actions.  This work is ongoing and includes implementation of a lead corrosion control study of the water distribution system and recurring sampling and testing of the water for lead. The study will recommend corrective actions that the Port will implement in consultation with the Broward County Health Department. The study will be completed in the near future.

Additionally, the Port is replacing old plumbing fixtures, such as faucets and water fountains, which were allowed to contain up to eight percent lead prior to January 4, 2014, in Buildings (Public Works – 2101 Eisenhower Blvd and Administration Building 1850 Eller Drive) with new fixtures that are certified to be lead free in accordance with the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act.


For More Information 

Call us at 954-468-3509, or the Broward County Information Line at “311.” For more information on reducing lead exposure around your building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s Website at www. epa.gov/lead or contact your health care provider.

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