Where does lead in water come from?

Source of lead: Inside your own home

FILE - The Bull Run Watershed is the main water supply for the city of Portland. Undated photo. (Portland Tribune)
FILE - The Bull Run Watershed is the main water supply for the city of Portland. Undated photo. (Portland Tribune)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The actual source of water supplied by the Portland Water Bureau is safe, according to experts.

The agency says it conducts regular tests at the Bull Run Watershed and the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

“We’re very fortunate that lead is rarely detected from these sources,” Scott Bradway of the PWB said. “And when it is, it’s really low levels.”

Bradway said the main source of water-based lead contamination comes from household plumbing fixtures.

“Here in Portland, we’re very fortunate that we don’t have the lead service lines that we’ve heard so much about in other places such as Flint, Michigan,” Bradway said.

The water bureau does offer free testing for its customers.

Perry Cabot, a risk assessor for Multnomah County, says the most common source of lead found in households come from lead-based paints.

County data shows that people who have elevated lead levels in their bodies are often exposed to the lead from paint-based products inside a home, as opposed to water.

“We know people are deeply concerned about this issue right now,” Cabot said.

He suggested people who are concerned about in home testing contact the Lead Line Program, which is run through Multnomah County.

“If you’re deeply concerned around your child having been exposed to lead, I would recommend that you go to your medical provider…and ask for a blood lead test to be done,” Cabot said.

On Thursday, people with children who are age 6 and under are welcome to attend a free testing clinic from 1-5 p.m. in Northeast Portland. There are other screening dates available.

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