Nov 10, 2016

High Lead Levels Found in Portland, Ore., Drinking Water

Fourteen high-risk homes showed elevated levels

water contamination, lead pipe, Portland Oregon, water testing

Recent testing showed an elevated presence of lead in 14 of 112 high-risk homes tested in Portland, Ore.

Twice a year, the Portland Water Bureau tests high-risk homes (those known to have lead solder in their home plumbing) for lead levels. They tested water that had been standing in those pipes for several hours. The 14 homes that tested with elevated lead levels are in the Bull Run service area.

The Portland Water Bureau said it has been treating Bull Run drinking water to make it less corrosive by raising the pH of the water, but in this round of tests the lead levels were 17 ppb, more than the action level of 15 ppb that triggers educational outreach and corrective actions.

Following the announcement of the test results, the Oregon Health Authority directed the Portland Water Bureau to take immediate action to improve corrosion treatment and reduce lead levels in the Portland area.

According to the Portland Water Bureau, the major source of lead in tap water in Portland is the corrosive action of water on building plumbing components that contain lead, such as faucets and lead-based solder. However, by far the biggest sources of exposure to lead are from lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil. 

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