93°F
weather icon Clear

Summerlin’s ‘young water system’ makes contaminants unlikely

If you live in Summerlin or surrounding areas, it should be of comfort to know that the water you drink is clear of even the remotest threat of lead and any other contaminants. And that’s irrespective of whatever some final determination might be about whether there was lead in the water of the old school house in the little town of Goodsprings, southwest of Las Vegas.

No question about it, lead in drinking water is dangerous and scary stuff. Of course, that doesn’t even begin to take into account the myriad of serious problems in Flint, Mich. — a city with a population of more than 100,000 — where the whole ruckus about lead in drinking water first surfaced last year. As a result, there are cities and towns across America that are now desperately scrutinizing their plumbing systems to determine if lead is leaching into their potable water.

Goodsprings — with a population of 229, according to the 2010 census — is an unincorporated old mining town in Clark County. There was concern last winter about lead in the water of the town’s only school, built 103 years ago, and its community center. But tests have since shown it might have been a false alarm. Still, most, if not all, of Goodsprings’ structures were built well before passage of vital amendments to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 1986.

In particular, those revisions to the SDWA — a law that was enacted 12 years earlier — established more rigorous regulations governing the restriction of lead in plumbing systems, with particular emphasis on the use of solder.

So that brings us back to Summerlin and its environs, which for the most part were still a barren desert 30 years ago, when the SDWA code to protect against lead in water was toughened. “Construction everywhere has had to conform to the new plumbing code since 1986, to assure against lead contamination,” said Corey Enus, a spokesman for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Keep in mind that most of the area the water authority serves has “a young water system,” Enus emphasized, and that includes practically all of Summerlin.

It also brings us to a reassuring mailing piece that accompanied a recent homeowner water bill from the water authority: “You can drink your tap water with confidence. Southern Nevada’s drinking water meets or surpasses all state and federal Safe Drinking Water Act standards,” the mailer stated.

The key ingredient in those 1986 amendments to the federal act, which is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, says that lead concentrations must not exceed 15 parts per billion. In response to this, Enus said, “We’re a whole lot better than that. Our water has less than one part per billion, and that covers all of our customer areas, including Summerlin. One of the benefits is that there are no lead service lines anywhere in our water distribution system.”

Enus added that “all of SNWA’s indoor and public water systems use lead-free components.”

The water authority’s recent mailing piece explained that “inhibiting the corrosion process also helps extend the life of underground pipes, valves and other critical water delivery infrastructure. In addition, the SNWA uses advanced water-treatment processes and has a team of experts to monitor water quality. Our scientists conduct more than 333,700 analyses on more than 33,476 water samples collected throughout the valley each year.”

Enus noted that the EPA further tightened the safe drinking water code in 1991: “The amendment is called the ‘lead and copper rule,’ and it strictly regulates control of both lead and copper in drinking water,” he said.

Ironically, Michigan, which has taken much heat in Congress and across the country because of the lead-in-water dangers in Flint, may be on the verge of having the toughest regulations in the nation. According to reports, Michigan would mandate that lead concentrations in drinking water could not exceed 10 parts per billion, in line with a standard established by the World Health Organization.

Herb Jaffe was an op-ed columnist and investigative reporter for most of his 39 years at the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. His most recent novel, “Double Play,” is now available. Contact him at hjaffe@cox.net.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Las Vegas author’s Howard Hughes biography adds new insight

Just as you might have imagined, the ultimate biography of Howard Hughes is an all-inclusive history of one of the more fascinating though enigmatic figures in American history.

Faith Lutheran, Nevada’s first prep hockey team, also winner

They finished their regular schedule last weekend with nine wins, six losses and two ties — quite a record for Faith Lutheran High School. The first official high school hockey team in Nevada is eager to help form a school league within the state.

Tour reveals Las Vegas Ballpark’s full splendor

If you think you have a grasp of what the $150 million Las Vegas Ballpark will offer to fans of the Aviators (formerly 51s) just because you drive by the site occasionally on your way to Downtown Summerlin, are you ever in for a surprise.

Summerlin educator’s new focus: Helping learning-disabled

No doubt you’ve heard a lot about overcrowded classrooms. It’s not just a Las Vegas problem — nor is it just a Nevada problem. It’s a universal problem. Indeed, it can become a horrific problem when a teacher is forced to deal with a classroom of 40 to 45 students.

North Las Vegas counterterrorism training school aids synagogue

Chabad Synagogue of Summerlin/Desert Shores was in the process of a major overhaul of its security system well before the anti-Semitic massacre of 11 congregants at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Oct. 27.

Ceremony offers look at Summerlin’s fast-rising ballpark

You had to see it, and you didn’t even have to hear what they were saying in order to believe it. You already knew that once construction is completed, Las Vegas Ballpark will be “the envy of the country,” as Don Logan, president and chief operating officer of the Las Vegas 51s, told those who gathered for the topping-out ceremony.

Las Vegas NBA vet’s new challenge is helping at-risk children

It wasn’t until Michael Brown, a native of Newark, New Jersey, who became a resident of Las Vegas in 1997, ended his basketball days that he and wife Esther Rodriguez Brown became serious players in helping youths who have gone in the wrong direction.

Las Vegas recyclables take long journey from curb before reuse

Recyclables are not the kind of trash that’s taken to the dump. Instead, these are materials that can be returned to their original, raw form before shipment to other facilities to be recycled into usable resources.