Facts on Lead

Keeping Beaverton's Drinking Water Safe – Facts on Lead and Drinking Water 

The City of Beaverton is dedicated to the protection of public health by providing high quality drinking water that is safe and reliable. The city is committed to increasing public awareness and understanding of lead in water. 

The city's drinking water system was just surveyed/audited by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA)'s Drinking Water Program in April 2016 and received an "outstanding performance" rating. The OHA found the City's water system facilities "to be well operated and maintained by knowledgeable and competent staff." 

Sources of Lead. The main source of lead in drinking water is typically from household plumbing. This is usually lead solder that was used in homes built or plumbed with copper pipes before 1986. Lead can also be found in brass plumbing fixtures and components. This is the reason that lead/copper testing is done at customer taps instead of on the city's distribution system. 

Testing for Lead. To address corrosion of lead and copper into drinking water, EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Beaverton has been in compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule since its inception nearly 20 years ago. 

Drinking water providers, including the City of Beaverton, are required to regularly test for lead and manage their systems to reduce lead exposure by controlling corrosion in pipes through treatment. The city receives its drinking water from the Joint Water Commission Treatment Plant (JWC WTP), south of Forest Grove. The JWC WTP uses a form of soda (similar to baking soda) to raise the pH and reduce the corrosiveness of the water. 

Additionally, Beaverton water quality staff test customer homes throughout the city on a three-year cycle (based on Federal EPA criteria). Beaverton is only required to test for lead and copper every three years because there has never been a problem with high levels of lead in the city's water pipes. The last round of testing was in 2016, and out of the 30 homes tested, most had no detection of lead. The few houses that had any lead detected in the water at all were below the Action Level of 15 parts per billion (ppb) or .015 milligrams per liter (mg/L), with the highest lead reading of 7 ppb, or 0.007 mg/L. There were no violations at all for lead in Beaverton. The next round of testing will be in 2019. Results from past lead/copper testing can be found on the Oregon Health Authority website

Reducing Exposure to Lead from Plumbing. If your house has older plumbing, it is recommended to flush out your system if water has been sitting idle in your household plumbing for six hours or more. Run the tap until the water is cold and fresh before using for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula. Only use water from the cold tap for consumption as water from the hot tap is more likely to contain lead and/or other metals that can contribute to taste/odor/health issues. If you have additional questions about lead or other water quality questions or comments, please call 503-526-2208. 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Information. For other information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA's website at: www.epa.gov/lead.