State regulators to Portland: Reduce lead levels

City must submit plan by December 2

Tested water samples, in a photo provided November 9, 2016 by the Portland Water Bureau
Tested water samples, in a photo provided November 9, 2016 by the Portland Water Bureau

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon Health Authority has ordered Portland to reduce lead levels in drinking water, after new testing found too much lead at some taps.

In a letter to the Portland Water Bureau, Oregon public health director Lillian Shirley said the city must submit a plan for lead reduction by Dec. 2, and include immediate steps it will take to fix the problem.

City officials contacted by The Oregonian/OregonLive on Wednesday declined to say what steps they might take.

Information:
Leadline.org
503.988.4000

Portland could increase pH levels and alkalinity, which would likely reduce the pipe corrosion that causes lead release, particularly in homes with lead-soldered plumbing or brass faucets.

Shirley wrote that Portland must upgrade its water treatment facilities and infrastructure to permanently solve the problem, and gave the city six years to get it done.

In a release, the Portland Water Bureau said recent drinking water samples in the Bull Run service area showed an elevated presence in 14 of 112 “high risk homes” tested.

Lead levels were found to be 17 parts per billion, higher than the action level of 15 parts per billion that mandates public notification and corrective measures.

KOIN 6 News contributed to this report