Lead detected in water in certain Portland homes

Multnomah County

Lead in homes with solder in their plumbing, built between 1970-85

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Water Bureau detected lead in the water of certain homes at a high enough level they were required to notify the public.

The water bureau detected 21 parts per billion, 6 parts higher than EPA requirements to notify the public.

The lead was detected in homes known to have lead solder in their plumbing, and were built or plumbed between 1970 and 1985.

Officials stress the results do not represent the entire water system.

There is no safe level of lead exposure, especially for kids whose brains are still developing.

“Our concern is our customer’s health and safety, and we want to make sure we let everybody know about these results,” said Lead Hazard Reduction Program Manager Scott Bradway.

In a release, PWB said the current test results are part of a regional monitoring program that includes the bureau and these water districts:

  • Burlington
  • Lorna
  • Palatine Hill
  • Pleasant Home
  • Raleigh
  • Valley View
  • West Slope

“We’re really focusing on is now what can we do, as a drinking water provider to improve the levels of lead for all of our customers throughout, not just these homes with the elevated levels of lead in the drinking water, but for everybody,” Bradway said.

Within months, the Portland Water Bureau will have their strongest tool yet to make drinking water safer for everyone, regardless of the plumbing in their home, school and building.

In April 2022 they’re opening their Improved Corrosion Control Treatment Facility. With a little mineral chemistry, this facility will make Portland’s water less corrosive to lead and other metals.

Request a free kit to test your water for lead

No matter when your home was built, everyone should test their water for lead. It’s a free service from PWB that gets sent to your house.

Tips from PWB

The Portland Water Bureau, regional water providers and public health partners recommend the following easy steps you can take now to reduce exposure to lead:

  • Run water to flush the lead out. If the water has not been used for several hours, run each tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until it becomes colder before drinking or cooking. This simple step can reduce lead in water up to 90 percent or more. 
  • Use cold, fresh water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Lead dissolves more easily into hot water than cold water. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap.  Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  • Consider using a filter. Check whether it reduces lead – not all filters do. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. Contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters.
  • Test children for lead. Ask a physician or contact the LeadLine at leadline.org or 503-988-4000 to find out how to have your child tested for lead. A blood lead level test is the only way to know if a child is being exposed to lead.
  • Test your water for lead. Call the LeadLine at leadline.org or 503-988-4000 to find out how to get a FREE lead-in-water test.
  • Regularly clean the faucet aerator. Particles containing lead from solder or household plumbing can become trapped in faucet aerators. Regularly cleaning every few months will remove these particles and reduce the exposure to lead. 
  • Consider buying low-lead fixtures. As of 2014, all pipes, fittings and fixtures are required to contain less than 0.25 percent lead. When buying new fixtures, consumers should seek out those with the lowest lead content.
  • Know the other sources of lead exposure in our community. In Portland, the most common sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint, household dust, soil, and plumbing materials. Lead is also found in other household objects such as toys, cosmetics, and pottery. 

To get your water tested for lead or for more information on reducing lead exposure around your home or building and the health effects of lead, contact the LeadLine at leadline.org or503-988-4000.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Twitter News Widget

Trending Stories

Virus Outbreak Navy Ship
February 01 2022 03:28 pm