Lead in Your Hotel's Drinking Water

You Could be Liable, so Why Risk It?

By Larry Gillanders Co-founder, Ace DuraFlo Systems | June 11, 2017

The lead leaching problem in America is more complex and widespread than most general news organizations would make you think. Lead pipes are found worldwide, as well as throughout the United States, especially in some of our oldest cities. Thousands of years ago, lead became a choice material for water pipes, because it's found in many regions, it's malleable and it's extremely durable. Now, many countries are left with lead supply pipes that release dangerous amounts of lead into the water. When consumed, lead can cause serious adverse health effects, especially for children, and can even be fatal.

The American Water Association estimated in 2016 that there are 6.5 million lead service pipes still in use in the United States, which are found running from the city water main to homes and buildings. However, it's very important to stress that lead leaching does not only occur solely as a result of lead pipes – a water supply system may also contain several types of lead contributors, all which can release toxic levels of lead. This information is key. In other words, you are incorrect if you have been thinking: My hotel's pipes are copper or galvanized steel, so my hotel is safe from dangerous lead levels. The problem does not start and end with the underground service pipes bringing water to your property.

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Lead contributors include lead solder (copper pipes often have lead solder), galvanized steel pipes and copper alloy fittings like brass fittings. Lead solder was commonly used until about 1986, favored by plumbers for its ease of application. Galvanized pipes are known to attract lead particulates. Brass fittings until recently contained high lead content in their make-up. Lead service lines (LSLs) are often found delivering water to buildings completed before 1950, galvanized steel pipes were commonly included in buildings constructed before the 1960s and copper pipes were commonly installed in buildings between the 1960s and 1990s. Still, no matter when your hotel was built, it's important to find out exactly what types of water supply pipes lay within it, as well as what type and the extent of the use of lead contributors are found in the water supply systems.

A Bad Reaction

Lead is released into drinking water through corrosion. When water interacts with lead or lead contributors, it causes a chemical reaction that dissolves the metal and releases lead. Water with high acidity or low levels of minerals is particularly known to accelerate lead leaching.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.