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Mayor Brown: Buffalo's drinking water is safe

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The City of Buffalo's drinking water is safe to consume, say officials who announced results of recent testing for lead levels.

The City of Buffalo is required by federal regulation to test its water supply every three years. This year, with the water contamination crisis of Flint, Michigan fresh in the minds of many, the City sought volunteers to provide samples from their households. More than 200 kits were distributed, with 152 received and tested.

An independent firm, TestAmerica Laboratories, conducted the tests using Environmental Protection Agency standards.

The results of those tests were announced Wednesday inside the city's pumping station on Porter Avenue, and city officials were pleased to share the numbers.

"Water results from the over 150 residential homes showed either no lead, or levels far below the EPA's action level of 15 parts per billion, in every instance," said Mayor Byron Brown, who attributed the results in part to the city's treatment system, which involves use of phosphate-based corrosion inhibitors. 

O.J. McFoy, who chairs the Buffalo Water Board, noted that of the 152 kits returned and tested, seven showed lead levels of more than five parts per billion, but still below the EPA's action level. He explained that one part per billion is like a single drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool. 

"We are working, like the mayor said, with those homeowners to ensure that that situation is addressed and that concern is alleviated," McFoy said.

Buffalo draws its water supply from Lake Erie, which officials say provides a source of non-corrosive, easy-treat water.

City officials say their goal is to establish an even tougher standard than that of the EPA, an action  level of five parts per billion, which is the accepted limit for lead contamination in drinking water by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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