City Says Run Tap Water for 30 Seconds to Avoid Leaden Water

The city's Department of Environmental Protection is telling New Yorkers to run their taps for 30 seconds before drinking, cooking or using tap water for baby formula. That's because tests have shown elevated levels of lead in some older buildings.

The DEP says the city's water supply is "virtually lead-free" and that the buildings recently identified as having contaminates are likely from lead pipes and fixtures found in buildings older than 40 years.

DEP commissioner Cas Holloway says the elevated levels are "too small to pose health risks,"  but says if your faucet hasn't been used for over six hours you should run the taps. 

"The best level of lead exposure is zero, especially for children and pregnant women," Holloway said.

Water tests conducted on older buildings from June to September found that 14 percent of the 222 buildings showed lead levels higher than the accepted benchmark. If 10 percent or more of the buildings tested find lead levels higher than 15 parts per billion, federal law requires local utility companies to intervene.