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Department of Utilities to Begin Use of Orthophosphate in May

The food-grade additive will help stop corrosion in water pipes.

Post Date:04/25/2019 1:24 PM
Leesburg, VA (April 25, 2019) – In a continuing effort to provide the highest quality drinking water possible, the Town of Leesburg’s Department of Utilities will begin adding orthophosphate to the Town’s drinking water beginning May 6, 2019. 

This additive is used to create a thin protective coating in water pipes and home fixtures to reduce the chance that corrosive elements find their way in to the water.  This protective barrier is especially helpful for older homes that may have original lead solder or lead fittings in faucets or other plumbing features. The decision to use orthophosphate comes after a year-long study conducted by the Town’s consultant, Hazen, as well as approval from Town Council and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH).  

Orthophosphate, the phosphate-based treatment being used, is a food-grade additive that is effective in stopping corrosion of the pipes and is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and used in water systems across the United States. An average person would need to drink more than 330 glasses of tap water treated with orthophosphate to get the same amount of phosphate that is in one glass of milk.

Over the next few months, customers may see crews opening hydrants and performing water quality monitoring. Water supply staff will analyze hundreds of water samples during the implementation of orthophosphate. The Department of Utilities is working closely with the VDH to ensure the implementation of orthophosphate goes smoothly. The addition of orthophosphate will result in no perceptible change to the taste, smell or appearance of the water delivered to customers. 

Customers who have questions about their drinking water quality can contact the Town’s Department of Utilities Water Supply Division at 703-737-7110.

Media Contact:
Leah Kosin
Public Information Assistant

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