recs for removing lead pipes

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?
everywoman
Senior Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:20 pm

recs for removing lead pipes

Postby everywoman » Tue May 22, 2007 12:04 pm

Any recommendations on people who do good job of replacing the lead pipes in basement older homes?

snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 12803
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Postby snoqueen » Tue May 22, 2007 3:24 pm

On my old block, the month we got notice our lead pipes were to be replaced we all got advertising from three local firms: Pertzborn, Bullet Construction, and I think the last one was B&B.

Their estimates all came in nearly the same, some of us chose to work with each of the three companies, and nobody had any complaints when we were all done. Each company seemed to do about an equally good job and all were nice to work with.

We got reimbursed by the city for half our cost.

roadkill bill
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 1697
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2002 12:33 am
Contact:

Postby roadkill bill » Tue May 22, 2007 4:10 pm

If you are talking about the city-required replacement of the water service between your house and the street, Sno is right. Because my block almost all had to have the service replaced, we got a discount for getting 5+ households together. We asked around, and Pertzborn seems to be the default company.

You aren't talking about lead pipes INSIDE your house are you? I'd be very suprised if you had lead farther than the wall of the basement.

Henry Vilas
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 21396
Joined: Wed Sep 04, 2002 8:57 pm
Location: Name sez it all
Contact:

Postby Henry Vilas » Tue May 22, 2007 4:51 pm

Just don't hire the company that punctured the gas line on Erin Street a few years back, while doing lead pipe removal. Blew up the entire house. I live about five blocks away and when it blew, I thought something large had crashed into the side of my home. A few minutes later, black ash came raining down.

Sorry, don't know the name of the contractor involved, but ask when you get bids.

everywoman
Senior Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:20 pm

Postby everywoman » Wed May 23, 2007 12:02 am

hey thanks you guys, great info

yea, the pipes in basement, man I hope there isnt lead pipes in rest of house.....will have to ask inspector about that. does that ever happen?
I did wonder if years of using lead pipes though could leave a residue in the pipes upstairs....

everywoman
Senior Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:20 pm

Postby everywoman » Wed May 23, 2007 12:18 am

also, if you guys have an opinion on heating a/c people who are good............
and recs on systems that are good for allergies/environment.....like not forced air?
am new to all this domestic stuff.

snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 12803
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Postby snoqueen » Wed May 23, 2007 2:44 am

everywoman wrote:hey thanks you guys, great info

yea, the pipes in basement, man I hope there isnt lead pipes in rest of house.....will have to ask inspector about that. does that ever happen?


Not often, not ever that I've heard of in fact. My house was in one of the oldest parts of town -- if there was anything that weird around we'd have heard about it, and we never did.

However, some older copper pipes were connected with solder containing lead. It's usually in between the pipes and on the outside -- not a whole lot of solder gets on the inside, but some could have. If you are concerned about this you can have your water tested for lead. It's cheap and the instructions are easy to follow.

If you are trying to determine what metal is in your pipes for yourself, ones that a magnet will stick to are iron and are generally gas pipes. Ones that can be scratched with a small knife and the scratch looks coppery are copper, and that's most of them. The lead pipe is usually in the basement coming out of the wall or floor and is the supply line only. When you scratch that it shows a dull silver color.

I did wonder if years of using lead pipes though could leave a residue in the pipes upstairs....


The pipes all have a slight residue inside due to the hard water we have in Madison, and the amount of lead actually found in the tested water was so marginal as to be like .001 above what was declared safe (somebody could probably find the numbers here if they wanted to). We were just on the edge, in other words, and only in a very few neighborhoods and not even on all the tests.

Many people felt the city (under Mayor Baumann) should have fought harder to not be required to go through this expensive process on account of what was a very marginal danger, if any. The natural residue inside the pipes was actually thought to PROTECT residents from lead, since it coated the lead pipe from within with minerals already present in the water anyway.

But the city lost whatever appeals it filed and we were requited to do the replacement.

Again, if you are anxious about this just get the water tested. The water utility sends out a pamphlet telling who tests it, and if you never got the pamphlet here is a link:

http://www.ci.madison.wi.us/water/plansLead.cfm

About 3/4 of the way down the page is a place you can click for a pdf of the pamphlet.

everywoman
Senior Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 4:20 pm

Postby everywoman » Wed May 23, 2007 10:07 am

thanks again snoqueen, some interesting history there.
I didnt pay attention to those politics much when I was a renter....funny how I've gotten fascinated with stuff that used to make my eyes glaze over once I have a vested interest...

roadkill bill
Forum God/Goddess
Posts: 1697
Joined: Thu Dec 19, 2002 12:33 am
Contact:

Postby roadkill bill » Wed May 23, 2007 10:33 am

The amount of lead that is/was in the water (de4pnding on if your old pipes have already been replaced) was only considered a danger to pregnant women and young children. And even then, the danger could pretty much be eliminated by running the water for a minute before drinking it.

Sno is right that our hard water actually protected us from the lead, but the residue is not "slight" if you have an old house (pre-WWII.) Ask a plumber. The coating can be substatial, somtimes to the point of needing to replace pipes or fixtures.

Lead wasn't eliminated from gasoline until the ?? late-70s ??, and you can still find plenty of paint in old houses with lead. Anyone born before 1970 probably had a higher lead exposure than anything you or your kids could get from our water. Somehow, we survived.


Return to “Town Vibe”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest