Tags: tacoma | water | lead

Tacoma: Water in Lead Pipes Could Be Dangerous to Homeowners

Image: Tacoma: Water in Lead Pipes Could Be Dangerous to Homeowners
City of Flint, Michigan workers prepare to replace a lead water service line pipe at the site of the first Flint home with high lead levels to have its lead service line replaced under the Mayor's Fast Start program on March 4, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 22 Apr 2016 01:36 PM

High levels of lead found in Tacoma tap water in Washington state have led Seattle Public Utilities and others to urge caution to customers as concerns first sparked by a water crisis in Flint, Michigan, continue to spread.

Seattle Public Utilities told its 650,000 customers to run their water for two minutes before using it if it hasn’t been turned on for six hours or longer, The Seattle Times reported.

The city’s water supply isn’t connected to Tacoma’s, the newspaper noted, but the temporary precaution was being made after concerns were raised there.

The water contamination crisis in Flint, Michigan, led Tacoma Public Utilities to test the water in four older homes. Some samples tested revealed lead levels above 100 parts per billion. The maximum level allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency is 15 parts per billion.

Tacoma water officials were surprised by the test results and reported their findings to the state Department of Health and alerted residents, The News Tribune reported.

Authorities blame the lead levels on gooseneck fittings made of lead. Seattle Public Utilities estimated that 2,000 mostly older homes in Seattle have such fittings. In Tacoma, 1,700 homes have lead goosenecks.

The concern likely only applies to homes built before the 1950s, KIRO-TV reported.

Officials think the concern is limited to homes serviced by galvanized water lines. Seattle Public Utilities plans to publish a map of homes serviced by such lines and will test the water in a sampling of those homes. Everett Public Works officials also announced plans to test for lead in water lines there.

Concerns of lead in water also were reported in Olathe, Kansas, where officials said Wednesday that they found potentially high levels in tap water affecting about 105 customers in one neighborhood there, KSHB-TV reported.

On Thursday, officials in Washington, D.C. announced elevated lead levels in water at three elementary schools, The Washington Post reported. Those water sources were shut down and officials were arranging to test students for lead poisoning.

You cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so testing is the only way to know whether contamination exists.

The Environmental Protection Agency has called on utilities to post information about the lead pipes in their systems, and some state regulators are balking at the request, USA Today reported.

In Flint, a class-action lawsuit claims that damaging levels of lead seen after the city's water supply was switched to the Flint River in April 2014 contributed to physical and psychological injuries, permanent disabilities, and emotional distress.

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High levels of lead found in Tacoma tap water in Washington state have led Seattle Public Utilities and others to urge caution to customers as concerns first sparked by a water crisis in Flint, Michigan, continue to spread.
tacoma, water, lead
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2016-36-22
Friday, 22 Apr 2016 01:36 PM
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