Situation in Flint raises concerns about lead in OR

The OHA says it's trying to get every system to meet the lead action level

Generic water coming from a faucet. (KOIN 6 News)
Generic water coming from a faucet. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Lead found in the water supply of Flint, Michigan is raising concerns about water supplies all over the country.

At some point in the past 4 years, 46 Oregon water systems have carried lead levels greater than 15 parts per billion, which is the benchmark for corrective action mandated by the Oregon Health Authority.

The OHA keeps track of water systems with periodic testing, a precaution that found elevated levels of lead in 8 school day care centers. One of those was Molalla’s Rural Dell Elementary.

Three years ago, testing showed lead levels were 3 times the actionable level.

Numbers that appear in red are higher than the actionable level for lead, Mar. 18, 2016 (KOIN)
Numbers that appear in red are higher than the actionable level for lead, Mar. 18, 2016 (KOIN)

Superintendent Tony Mann said the district took immediate action. It stopped using the school’s well water and handed out bottled water and hand sanitzer.

“We kept the water off, continued to work with county and state officials and installed a treatment system at Rural Dell Elementary School,” said Mann.

Since the fix, the school’s water has been clean. All other systems that failed the lead test since 2012 are also being dealt with.

“We want to be absolutely certain here, that we’re fully engaged with all of those, and that’s what we’ve found so far. Everybody’s on a path, either they fixed it or they’re on a path to fix it,” says Dave Leland with the Oregon Health Authority.

Any questions about any Oregon water source can be found on the OHA website.

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