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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2016 Archives > Rich Products Supports The Opportunity Pledge > Mayor Brown Announces lead testing Results in Water

Mayor Brown Announces lead testing Results in Water


Independent test results show City of Buffalo water is lead safe

Buffalo – Mayor Byron W. Brown and members of the Buffalo Water Board today announced that, based on the recent independent testing from Test America, water samples provided voluntarily from over 150 residential homes showed either no lead or levels far below the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion. Water is considered safe if lead levels are less than 15 parts per billion.

“In short – Independent test results showed City of Buffalo water is lead safe,” said Mayor Brown. “Delivering safe, pristine drinking water to each of our residents in Buffalo is and has always been a priority of my administration and, in an abundance of caution as a result of the water lead contamination concern in a number of American cities, Buffalo has taken multiple new and expanded voluntary steps to make sure the water we deliver to our homes in Buffalo is safe from lead and other contaminants – as outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

Buffalo is fortunate to be on the shores of Lake Erie, which is considered an excellent “source water” because it’s non-corrosive and easily treatable. To reduce the potential of lead in Buffalo’s distribution system, Buffalo Water has long taken a proactive approach to minimize the corrosion and leaching of lead from service connections and plumbing systems into the drinking water supply by adding a phosphate-based corrosion inhibitor. This process creates a protective layer inside service connections and plumbing systems, minimizing the potential for contaminants such as lead to leach into drinking water.
Buffalo Water Board Chair Person Oluwole A. “OJ” McFoy stated, “On behalf of the dedicated scientist, engineers, and operators of Buffalo Water, I am excited to stand with Mayor Brown and announce our exemplary water quality results. This year we tripled the number of participants throughout the City and our test results continue to show that Buffalo Water is lead safe.”

With every reason to believe that Buffalo Water is absolutely fine, Buffalo proactively and voluntarily increased residential testing frequency this year from a three year cycle as mandated by the EPA to an annual cycle. This year’s testing period began on June 1, 2016 and ended on September 30th. This is the period when the temperature of Lake Erie is at its warmest, offering the highest corrosion potential. After a significant recruitment effort for volunteers to sign up for a lead testing kit during this first expanded testing phase, 256 households signed up citywide to receive the lead sample kits; 152 lead sample kits were returned for testing as of 10/17/16.

Based on the independent testing from Test America, water samples from the results showed either no lead or levels far below the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion in every instance….demonstrating that Buffalo’s corrosion control program has been successful.

As part of a continued proactive approach, samples with a result greater than 5 parts per billion were flagged through this process. Buffalo set this new internal action level because it mirrors the industry standard for bottled water by the Federal Drug Administration. Only 7 households came back at greater than 5 parts per billion and Buffalo Water continues to work closely with those homeowners to identify the reasons for the elevated lead levels.

Knowing that exposure to any lead in water is unsafe, Buffalo Water is also taking a number of other steps to further enhance the City’s plan to further reduce the potential for the presence of lead in water: Buffalo is:

  • In the process of conducting tests in all city-owned buildings with pre-school programming;
  • Any property that is city owned or acquired will be tested…and the same standards will be applied to sample results; the City will remediate conditions that contribute to results that exceed 5 parts per billion.

For more information or to obtain a lead testing kit, please contact 311.