Affordable Sensor Easily Detects Lead in Water for Home and City Water Lines

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a robust, embeddable sensor that can detect lead and other metals in water. The device can be installed at any tap in a home or business for years, with only some minimal annual cleaning, and will trigger an alert if a certain threshold of lead or another metal is detected in the water. The device may end up costing around $20, and relies on two pairs of electrodes. The Flint water crisis demonstrated that old water systems believed to have been stable can suddenly expose thousands of people to a neurotoxin if lead piping is corroded by a change in water quality. In addition, standard water sample tests require users to run their water for several minutes, missing any lead that leaches into the water from the home's own pipes. The University of Michigan researchers foresee an app monitoring all of a home's taps that could then send the homeowner an alert.