Seattle residents asked to run water as precaution after high levels of lead found in Tacoma water

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SEATTLE — Officials with Seattle Public Utilities say they are testing water at a small number of homes after tests by Tacoma Public Utilities revealed high levels of lead in four homes there.

As a temporary precaution, officials are asking all Seattle residents to run their water for two minutes before using it, if the water has not been run in six hours.

“Although Seattle has no connection with Tacoma’s water system, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has immediately begun work—both in-house and with our state regulators—to understand the extent to which our system could have a similar problem,” an SPU officials said.

The problem identified by Tacoma Water is apparently related to galvanized service lines and lead fittings known as “goosenecks.” SPU says Seattle has 9,000 galvanized services lines — about 2,000 of those lines are believed to have “gooseneck” fittings.

SPU is contacting a small number of homeowners across the area to take water samples at homes served by galvanized lines to see if there are elevated levels of lead.

Results could be available in as soon as five days, officials said.

“Seattle Public Utilities takes any potential lead exposure very seriously. The SPU water supply is routinely tested for lead and other contaminants, and our water surpasses all state and federal standards. To the best of our knowledge, the water we supply to our 1.3 million customers is safe, and some of the best in the nation. We live and work alongside you, and we drink, cook, and wash with Seattle’s water. We are dedicated to providing the safest, best water available anywhere.

Seattle’s corrosion control strategy—which is designed to help keep lead out of the water supply—is comprehensive and has been in place for decades. This work has resulted in home sample results below lead level standards.

More information will be available on SPU’s website. Customers with questions about this issue can call 206-684-5800.”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said in a news release: “The Seattle water supply is routinely tested for a range of issues. Our test results indicate that Seattle water surpasses all state and federal standards. For decades, we have had in place a comprehensive strategy designed to help keep lead out of the water supply. Seattle takes any potential lead exposure very seriously. Out of an abundance of caution, we will be doing additional water quality testing across our system.”


High levels of lead found in samples at 4 Tacoma homes

Tacoma Water officials say testing has revealed high levels of lead at water lines leading to four homes and that about 1,700 customers may be affected.

The News Tribune reports that the city informed the state Department of Health about the high levels of lead on Wednesday.

Officials say the source of the problem is sections of lead pipe, called goosenecks, that connect the water main to water meters outside homes. However, one of the four homes tested the week of April 5 did not have a lead gooseneck and still had high levels of lead.

Tacoma Public Utilities official Chris McMeen says lead gooseneck connections are found mostly at homes built in the early 20th century. City records of where the goosenecks were installed aren’t clear.

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