Dear PoPville – Props to DC Water

by Prince Of Petworth December 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm 14 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

“Dear PoPville,

Since PoPville runs a lot of content complaining (with justification) about aspects of DC’s government, I thought it might be worth highlighting a positive interaction I had. As a new homeowner, I learned from my inspection that my property had a lead service line. I was concerned about potential lead content. A little research showed that DC Water had a Voluntary Testing Program that would conduct laboratory tests for free.

I expected a lengthy process and a lot of paperwork. Instead, I made one quick phone call, and two days later a test kit appeared on my doorstep. The same kit disappeared from my doorstep less than 24 hours after I notified DC Water that it was ready for pick-up, despite the fact that it was snowing at the time and the government had shut down for inclement weather. Ten days later, my lab results were e-mailed to me. All in all, the experience was quick and painless. It’s nice to see my tax dollars put to such efficient and helpful use.

I don’t see the program publicized, so I don’t know how familiar people are with it, but I’d recommend any new (or old) homeowner with questions about their water quality give it a shot.”

  • jim_ed

    Good idea to publicize this. I wish I had known instead of spending $40 out of pocket for a water lead test recently.

  • DrewinSW

    Guess what the vast majority of the pipes getting the water from the reservoir to you are made out of, I cant imagine swapping over to a copper line would give you any noticeable difference in water quality, and would be immesly expensive. Lead in the water is only rarely a concern, and then for infants FYI.

    • jcm

      Sorry, but you are incorrect. Water mains are not made of lead. They are usually made out of cast iron or concrete. Generally, the only place you find lead in the distribution system is the service line that runs from the main to the house, and in the actual house.

      • Anonymous

        JCM is correct.

  • Not a fed

    I have had mixed experiences with this program. The first time I called for test kit, they were very nice on the phone but they simply never delivered the test kit as they said they would. A few months later I called again and spoke to someone who again was very nice – she explained the whole thing to me, called me back a couple times with more information and ultimately the test kit came when they said it would. They picked up my water samples two days later and I haven’t heard from them since – probably about 4-5 weeks ago. Considering it’s free I’m not really complaining but that was my experience.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly the same as my experience.

    • Not a fed

      Well, it figures: the same day (Friday) I said I hadn’t heard from DC Water yet, I got home to find the water test results in the mail. For Anonymous below and anyone else interested, the levels of lead and copper in our water were far, far below the EPA “Action level”; mine is a Petworth row house built in the ’20s, with a lead service line.

  • Becket98

    I’ve also had mixed interactions. But most recently, I called about a broken water meter cover. They were over in just a couple hours with a new one.

  • i had a similar positive experience with this program. good to share.


    DCWATER is not a DC Government agency. they have nothing to do with the DC Government. It is an independant utility (like pepco).

    • Anonymous

      DC Water is indeed a government agency. It is created by Congress and its budget is included in the DC budget. It is nothing at all like Pepco, which is a private for-profit company with publicly traded stock.

  • Anonymous

    Is this service available to apartment dwellers?

  • Anonymous

    So OP, what did the test show?? Were lead concentrations really an issue in your case? I live in a 100 year old house in Petworth, and with kids growing here, I often wonder whether the old lead paint dust is a larger contributor to our collective lead load compared to the water coming through the lines.

  • WobblingPenguin

    I had a plumbing issue last night that could not be resolved, so I had to call DC Water for them to cut off the water to the house. The task proved to be more difficult than anticipated since our house was refurbished, but the two gentlemen who came over at 12:15 am were patient, considerate, and didn’t leave until the job got done at 1:05 am.


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