Buffalo Water responds to accusation of improper lead testing

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Buffalo Water has responded to a national report that accuses the city, and 32 others, of violating EPA guidelines for water testing.

The Guardian conducted an investigation that looked at the lead-testing methods of 81 cities in the United States. 33 of them were accused of using what the article calls “cheats” while doing their testing. The “cheats” are methods of reducing the appearance of lead in results, giving testers an inaccurate measurement.

The study comes in wake of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, where water was found to be unsafe for use by residents.

According to The Guardian, Buffalo, in similar fashion to Springfield, Massachusetts; Chicago and Philadelphia, cheated in three different ways: “pre-flushing” pipes before testing, removing aerators from spouts and running water slowly. All of these actions can reduce lead content in test samples.

Other cities which allegedly violated EPA guidelines these three ways were Lewiston, Maine and Sebring, Ohio, according to The Guardian. Many other cities were listed as just having ran their water slowly. Albany, Miami, and Greensboro, North Carolina fit that category in the article.

Since the article was released, Buffalo Water has strongly come against its authors’ findings, releasing a statement this week that read:

“Buffalo Water has been in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule since the inception of the program in the 1990’s. We believe our drinking water is extremely safe. The source is non-corrosive and we have additional protections in place that include a corrosion inhibitor. We continue to meet the Health Department standards for our Lead and Copper testing. As always, if you are concerned about elevated levels of lead in your home’s plumbing, please contact the City’s 3-1-1 Call and Resolution Center to have your water tested by Buffalo Water.”

Authorities have not indicated whether or not Buffalo’s water supply will be investigated by federal or state officials.

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