Lead has been used in water pipe for a very long time. (We’re not going to go into just how long, but if you’re interested, click here.) In the United States, and specifically in Columbus, lead has not been used in construction for many years.
The primary use of lead in the local public system has been in the use of a “lead gooseneck” as a component of the water service. In older service lines, the straight section from the meter pit to the main was made of iron galvanized piping. The final two feet between the service line and the tap onto the public water main was, typically, a short section of lead pipe curved into place. The malleability of the lead provided flexibility to the service line and prevented fractures and leaks due to expansion and contraction during seasonal temperature changes.
By 1955, Columbus had quit using lead in its water service lines. Any home constructed or connected after 1955 is not at risk from lead contamination coming from the water service.
The Columbus City Utilities replaces over 100 water service lines every year, for various reasons. Most of these are the older type. So, even if your home has been connected to the water system since before 1955, the odds are pretty good that the service line has already been replaced since its original installation.
However, water service lines are not the only source of lead in water systems. Copper plumbing has been a very popular construction material in residential homes since the late 1950’s. These pipe sections were joined together using solder that was an alloy of lead and tin prior to 1978. After 1986, lead free solder was required to be used in all drinking water systems.