Lead in Drinking Water

Clackamas River Water has never detected measurable levels of lead in our source water and has no lead service lines. The main sources of lead contamination in drinking water are from components associated with individual home plumbing systems. These include lead solder used to join copper pipes and brass or chrome plated plumbing ­fixtures. Elevated levels of lead are most likely to be found in homes built prior to 1986 when lead-based solder was still being used in home construction.

If your home contains lead-based solder, or lead plumbing components you are considered a “high risk” home for lead exposure through drinking water.

Routinely 30 to 60 homes known to contain lead plumbing components are monitored within our service areas. These houses represent a worst-case scenario for lead in water. Samples are collected after the water has been standing in the household plumbing for more than 6 hours. If more than 10% of homes monitored exceed the lead action level of 15 parts per billion, a Lead and Copper Rule exceedance for lead occurs.

People are exposed to lead in many other ways. In the Portland metropolitan area, dust from paint in homes built before 1978 is the most common source of exposure to lead. Other sources include soil, pottery, traditional folk medicines or cosmetics, some sports equipment such as fishing weights and ammunition, and some occupations and hobbies.