Lead Awareness

The Tampa Water Department is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) to ensure the water we provide to our customers meets all federal and state drinking water standards.

We also maintain a strong, proactive corrosion control program to prevent pipes from leaching lead. We do this because when lead is found in tap water, it is typically due to leaching from plumbing material, such as lead soldered copper plumbing that may exist in a home or business.

Reduce your Risk

If your home or business plumbing system contains lead piping or lead-soldered pipes, here are some steps you can take to continue the lead protection provided by the Tampa Water Department:

  • Flush your cold water tap for at least 30 seconds to 2 minutes before drinking or cooking if the water in the faucet has gone unused for more than 6 hours. Lead and other metals can dissolve in water when it sits in pipes for a few hours.
  • Use cold water for cooking, preparing food or baby formula, or making ice. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Lead dissolves more easily into hot water. If you need hot water for cooking, heat cold water on the stove or in the microwave.
  • Remove and clean faucet aerators. 
    • Lead particles and sediment from solder or household plumbing can become trapped in your aerator screen located at the tip of your faucet.
    • Regular cleaning every few months will remove these particles and reduce your exposure to lead. This is especially important after household plumbing work and repairs.
    • After removing the aerator, flush the cold water lines for 3 to 5 minutes.
    • Aerators should be replaced once a year. The Tampa Water Department has free aerators for kitchen and bathroom faucets that can be mailed to customers.
  • Flush after plumping changes. When you upgrade or replace plumbing fixtures or pipes, remove the strainers from each faucet and run the water for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
    Consider using a filter. If you decide to purchase a water filter, be sure it reduces lead—not all filters do. NSF International created a Consumer Guide to NSF Certified Lead Filtration Devices for Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water. For more information, visit, nsf.org/info/leadfiltrationguide.
  • Follow manufacturer's instructions for replacing water filters in household appliances, such as refrigerators and ice makers, as well as home water treatment units and pitchers.
  • Install lead-free faucets and fixtures. Look for lead certification marks indicating the new product is lead free then replace the old faucets and fixtures. As of January 2014, all pipes, fittings and fixtures are required to contain less than 0.25 percent lead.

Additional Resources

NSF International provides information to help consumers identify Independently tested and certified drinking water filters and faucets.

NSF International is an independent, not-for-profit organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment.


Together, Let's Get the Lead Out