Portland Adds System To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water

water faucet

The Portland Water Bureau has improved water treatment to help protect the health of nearly a million people who drink Bull Run water. This week, the Water Bureau brought Improved Corrosion Control Treatment online at our Lusted Hill Facility to further reduce potential levels of lead at customers’ taps.  The upgraded treatment is expected to improve everyone’s health outcomes by further reducing the exposure to lead in water from home plumbing.

Water from the Bull Run Watershed, Portland’s primary source of drinking water, is naturally corrosive, and lead in plumbing can be released when it is in contact with water. Fortunately, there are very few sources of lead in Portland’s drinking water system and lead service lines were never used. In Portland, lead in water primarily comes from home plumbing, such as lead-based solder or faucets. Even with the existing corrosion control treatment that has been in place since 1997, some homes still had high levels of lead at the tap. The improved corrosion control treatment aims to further reduce the levels of lead in all buildings with lead in plumbing.

Improved Treatment Improves Health for Everyone

  • Improved treatment uses two naturally occurring substances—sodium carbonate and carbon dioxide—to increase the pH and alkalinity of Bull Run water, making it less corrosive to lead and other metals found in some home and building plumbing. 
  • Households with plumbing and fixtures containing lead will especially benefit.  

“I committed to being the last City Commissioner to tackle the harmful problem of lead exposure through drinking water,” said Water Commissioner Mingus Mapps. “Improved Corrosion Control is a pivotal milestone toward achieving this goal.”

Water Bureau Director Gabriel Solmer said, “The Improved Corrosion Control Treatment Facility is our strongest tool yet to make drinking water safer for everyone, regardless of the plumbing inside their home, school and building. I am proud of our dedicated water quality and operations teams who have honored our commitment to the community.”

Source: Portland Water Bureau

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