The Plumbing Professor: Against the Tide

Easy to take for granted, impossible to live without. For these four, nothing is more precious than water


Can you trust the water you drink? Marc Edwards, a Virginia Tech civil-engineering professor and water-corrosion expert, is determined to answer that question. In March 2003 he was working on a pinhole leak in the plumbing of a private home in Washington when he heard talk of elevated lead levels in the local water. He decided to test some samples, and the results shocked him. "One sample was so high it was off the scale of my

field meter," Edwards says. "The only thing I know for sure is that it contained more than 1,250 p.p.b....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!