The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) was notified by the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) confirming that lead levels in the Portland water service area had recently exceeded federal standards. As public health officials and the agency responsible for regulating lead levels in municipal drinking water systems, OHA directed the PWB to take immediate action to accelerate corrosion control strategies and improve lead levels throughout the water system.
As a result, OHA called on the PWB to further protect public health and accelerate the timeline for improving lead levels in Portland drinking water, as a follow-up to Portland’s corrosion control planning process currently underway. The accelerated timeline calls for immediate steps, including increased corrosion control using current facilities, and aggressively implementing changes in the Lead Hazard Reduction Program to further protect vulnerable populations.
OHA recognizes that Portland’s current strategy has had an impact by reducing lead exposure and raising awareness of lead hazards, despite facing challenging infrastructure issues. OHA will continue to work with Portland to evaluate short- and long-term plans for accelerating corrosion control and reducing lead levels at the tap. OHA appreciates the PWB’s prompt action and looks forward to continued improvement of Portland’s drinking water.
For more information:
- November 4, 2016 letter from OHA to the Portland Water Bureau
- Lead paint and dust are the most common ways people are exposed to lead
- Access the latest public information on statewide drinking water data