City of Seligman passes new ordinance banning lead

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

DNR-required law overlooked during last inspection

The city of Seligman is in the process of passing a new lead ban ordinance after discovering, by accident, that it did not have one.

"It's a [Department of Natural Resources] requirement so that municipal or public water departments can regulate the new installation of water lines and plumbing to ensure they do not contain any lead to prevent lead poisoning," said Brian Nichols, city clerk. "It was during a routine compliance check we noticed we didn't have [a lead ordinance], and immediately corrected the issue."

Nichols said the DNR conducts inspections every three years, and the ordinance was apparently overlooked on the last inspection.

"Different inspectors have different things they hunt for," Nichols said.

Lead is not usually an issue, Nichols said, unless residents live in old homes, which may have used lead in their original construction and paint before regulations prohibited it due to the health hazards it can cause. Otherwise, the city has not had any issues with lead.

In any case, the city took action to resolve the issue by initiating the process to pass a lead ban ordinance and ensure compliance.

"If you have houses that are pretty old, it's more of a concern, but we haven't had any high lead samples," he said. "Back in 1950s, it was primarily was used in sewer applications. Today, we used Epoxy, silicon and Plumber's Putty to seal up joints and rubber gaskets, which is far better and healthier for the environment."

Nichols said that the city routinely conducts testing for noxious, 
unsafe chemicals.

"Every single year, we have to pull samples from locations in the system and do lead and copper samples and others, but primarily those," he said. "That's part of the Consumer Confidence Report. Next to that, we have routine samples we pull once a month that are mailed to the state. Plus, any time they do an inspection they go around and randomly start pulling samples and do compliance samples as well."

Other than a paperwork issue of not having an official ordinance in place, which employees were not aware of, the city passed inspection.

"Other than that, we didn't have any errors or issues," Nichols said.

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