By Tracey Leong

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s Annual Water Quality Report shows that nearly four percent of homes tested had elevated levels of lead.

The testing involved 52 “high risk” homes, two of which had lead levels greater than the “action level” of 15 parts per billion, as set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead and Cooper rule.

For comparison, one part per billion is the same as one drop in 10,000 gallons of water.

Tracey Leong has more.

“Year after year we are pleased to show that our overall numbers are very good, and people who drink our water know we provide a superior product,” said Jeffrey Raymond, with the Baltimore Department of Public Works.

DPW’s report also mentions the lead tainted water in Flint, Michigan, serving as an important reminder to maintain and provide clean water and why DPW wanted to reassure people living in Baltimore their water is safe.

DPW only tested homes that were known to be at higher risk for poor water quality.

But Michael Runnels, a social responsibility professor at Loyola says more homes should have been tested.

“I think its great for Baltimore proper, but only certain neighborhoods,” says Runnels.

Lead was banned from all plumbing nearly two decades ago, but there are many houses that pre-date that ruling and could have higher levels of lead exposure in their water.

“There could be plumbing fixtures that if they are from a certain period could have lead in them,” said Raymond.

If you live in an older home or are concerned with lead exposure DPW suggests a few extra measures you can take to stay safe.

They recommend you:

-Run your water for at least 30 seconds to flush out the lead

-Use cold water for cooking

-Replace any lead fixtures connecting pipes.

If you are concerned with the lead levels in your water at home you can call 3-1-1 and schedule an appointed to get it tested.

Testing will be required again in 2018.

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