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Environment & Energy

Akron Maps its Lead Water Lines for the Public

Lead-line map
The map (use the link below) tracks where the lead lines are by address and parcen number.

Akron has published an interactive map showing where its remaining lead pipes are. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that the city created the map with the help of records going back more than half a century.

The map shows blue dots – some clustered, most scattered – throughout the city. Together, they account for 5 percent of the lines that connect water mains to individual homes and businesses.

Akron Press Secretary Ellen Lander Nischt (NEHSH) says the impetus for the map was national concern sparked by the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. But she says the city’s been collecting data since the 1950s.

“Before we really understood all of how lead works and how it affects us, they started proactively taking lead out of our system, seeing there were better alternatives. And they just kept very good records of that.”

The city also uses a special corrosion inhibitor to keep lead from leaching into the water. And Lander Nischt says Akron is replacing remaining lead pipes as part of any water projects – ranging from the multi-million-dollar combined sewer overflows to an individual homeowner replacing his or her water pipes.