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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effectiveness of pH and alkalinity adjustments in reducing lead and copper levels in rechlorinated and chloraminated tap water Chan, Kenneth C. H.


The effectiveness of pH and alkalinity adjustments in reducing copper and lead levels in rechiorinated and chioraminated tap water was assessed for a study area in Greater Vancouver. Standing cold water, running hot and cold samples were collected from 105 houses that were located in the study areas. The samples were analyzed in the laboratory for lead and copper concentrations, pH, and alkalinity. After following an complex scheme of data manipulation, sorting, and statistical testing, comparisons of the copper and lead levels between the study areas were made. This research study found that pH and alkalinity adjustments were definitely effective in reducing the copper levels in rechlorinated and chioraminated tap water. Lead levels were also reduced, but the magnitude of the reduction was statistically insignificant. The effects of pH and alkalinity adjustments on copper and lead levels did not appear to be different for rechlorinated and chloraminated tap water. Compared to houses with copper plumbing, houses with plastic plumbing and no-lead solder had extremely low levels of copper or lead in the tap water. This study also found that the age of a house, which was fitted with copper plumbing and was less than 15 years old, was not a significant factor in affecting lead concentrations.

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