Lead image
Girl drinking water

Exposure to lead can have harmful effects on young children’s developing brains, both in utero and during early childhood. Children may be exposed to lead from a variety of sources, including through lead-containing water pipes.

No amount of lead exposure is safe for young children because lead impairs cognitive and physical development and has lasting overall health impacts. 

Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program was designed to address this potential source of lead exposure and to prioritize the health and safety of young children.


The water Denver Water delivers to customers is lead-free, but lead can get into the water as it moves through customer-owned water service lines – the pipe that brings water into the building from the main in the street – and plumbing that contain lead. 

Denver Water estimates there are 64,000-84,000 properties that may have lead service lines and it will take 15 years to replace all of them. They will be working on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis, factoring in those who are most vulnerable and at-risk from lead exposure, underserved areas, and planned construction activities. To mitigate the effects of lead in service lines for the next 15 years, Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program has five components:

  • pH adjustment
  • Publicly accessible and searchable online inventory
  • Filter program which provides a free water filter and replacement cartridges to all customers enrolled in the program
  • Lead service line replacement (at no direct charge to the customer)
  • Communications, outreach, and engagement efforts throughout the community

One focus of the Lead Reduction Program is outreach to educate and engage caregivers about taking steps to protect health and safety for themselves and the children in their care.


Parents and caregivers, including early childhood care and education providers, are critical to ensuring the health and safety of young children, but not all parents and caregivers are aware of the sources of lead exposure and how it can negatively impact their children’s development. 

To ensure the program is as effective as possible in reaching families with young children, Denver Water partnered with a community organization—Denver’s Early Childhood Council—with expertise in early childhood. 

"The Healthy Babies Bright Futures Grant created opportunities for child care providers to learn about lead prevention and build relationships with staff at Denver Water. This approach enabled child care providers to share knowledge and resources with families about how to ensure access to safe drinking water,” said Megan Bock, Chief Program Officer at Denver’s Early Childhood Council.

The partnership with Denver’s Early Childhood Council led to four strategic actions as part of its Bright Cities partnership:

  • Train the trainer program about how to implement the Lead Reduction Program directed towards childcare providers (in English and Spanish)
  • Workshop for childcare providers at the 2021 Rocky Mountain Early Childhood Conference
  • Sharing information about the Lead Reduction Program consistently with the Denver Early Childhood Council’s established and trusted communications channels for child care providers
  • 650 home kits distributed directly to families through the network of coaches, nurses, and other direct service staff connected to the Denver Early Childhood Council with lead reduction program promotional materials

Interested in learning more? Contact Meg Trubee, Denver Water’s Lead Reduction Program, at meg.trubee@denverwater.org.

Is your City interested in being part of Healthy Babies Bright Futures’ Bright Cities program? To discuss this and anything else, please contact Bright Cities Program Director, Kyra Naumoff Shields at knaumoff@hbbf.org.


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