U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden has been monitoring the installation’s drinking water as a part of a five-year Army lead testing campaign, which includes all Army Family Housing primary drinking water taps. As water testing results are processed, notification letters are sent to residents.
To date, 42 percent of USAG Wiesbaden housing units have been tested, with less than 10 percent of those results showing elevated lead levels. Almost all elevated results are only slightly above the recommended level. An additional 346 units will be tested in fiscal year 2018 to meet the Army’s goal for the year. All units will be tested by the end of fiscal year 2020.
The testing process
Water samples from 200 Newman Village houses were last taken in July 2017 and are being tested in batches by Army Public Health Command. All kitchen and bathroom sink samples are taken after the water has been sitting in the pipes for more than eight hours. After the initial “first draw” sample, second and third samples are taken at intervals after the water has been allowed to run.
All elevated levels to date have been detected in the initial first draw samples. All subsequent second and third samples have been fine. The Environmental Protection Agency’s lead action level is 15 parts per billion.
When elevated results are found, DPW replaces aerators in sinks where the lead levels reported above the action limit. Retesting of water from these faucets is conducted to ensure successful mitigation.
Improve your water
All residents with elevated levels should follow the following precautions with water intended for consumption (all residents can, and are recommended, to follow the below precautions until their unit is tested):
• Let water run for 30 seconds before using it first thing in the morning, or after extended periods of non-use, to allow fresh water to enter the plumbing system.
• Use only cold water for drinking and cooking as hot water is more aggressive on plumbing and tends to have a higher mineral content.
• Primarily use kitchen taps for drinking water. Since they are used more frequently, they are more likely to contain fresh water.
• Remove and clean aerators at the end of faucets every several months. Soaking the aerator in vinegar overnight will dissolve built-up minerals and sediments. New aerators are also available at the Self-Help Store. Make sure to bring the old aerator along as there are several different types. The Self-Help Store is in Bldg. 7802 on Hainerberg and is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to noon and 12:45 to 3:30 p.m. It is closed on U.S. and German federal holidays.
Learn more about lead at www.epa.gov/lead or contact DPW’s Environmental Division at (0611) 1143-548-4092.