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Lead In Your Drinking Water? Westchester County Offers Free Test Kits

Westchester County is offering free test kits for county residents to test water for lead contamination.
Westchester County is offering free test kits for county residents to test water for lead contamination. Photo Credit: NPR.org

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Residents concerned about potential lead in their drinking water can take advantage of a free testing kit now available through the Westchester County Department of Labs and Research.

All county residents are eligible to receive a test kit whether they are served by a private well or a public water system.

“This program gives residents a chance to learn if any lead found in their home plumbing system is making its way into the water they drink,” County Executive Rob Astorino said in a news statement. “I encourage any interested residents to sign up as soon as possible.”

To request a free lead testing kit, residents should go to the Westchester County Department of Health’s website by clicking here for instructions or call (518) 402-7650. Residents will be asked to provide their name, phone number, email address and address to mail a test kit. Residents are asked to return their samples within 30 days, and will receive results and information about a month after the lab receives their samples. After reviewing their results, residents who have questions may call the county health department at (914) 813-5000.

The free water testing kits are funded through New York state as part of a new pilot program. Westchester County Labs in Valhalla is one of the certified labs that have been selected by the state to participate in this program.

Experts agree that lead found in home water samples usually comes from the home plumbing system, not the source of the water. Steps to take to minimize water exposure to lead include:

-- If water hasn’t been used for several hours, routinely run water for at least 30 seconds to flush out lead before using tap water for drinking or cooking

-- Use only cold tap water to cook, drink or make a baby’s formula, because lead dissolves more easily in hot water

-- Replace your plumbing fixtures if they are found to contain lead.

For more information, contact the Westchester County Department of Health at (914) 813-5000 or visit our website at www.westchestergov.com/health .

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