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Everett checking lead levels in its water after Tacoma’s problems

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EVERETT, Wash. -- Concerns about lead in drinking water is growing.

First the city of Tacoma, then Seattle and now Everett is worried about what may be coming out of the tap.

Everett Public Works said it hasn’t found high lead levels in its system in the past 15 years. But after high lead levels found in some residential water pipes in Tacoma and Seattle's decision to check its water for safety, the new tests happening in Everett are being done as a precaution.

The water inside Thomas Lakey’s home never worried him before until he got a call from Everett Public Works.

“When he said that, I was like, What? Checking my house for lead?” said Lakey.

Water crews took a dozen samples from Lakey’s sink and from five other homes Wednesday.

Officials are taking a closer look at customers still using galvanized iron service lines.

“My water, when it comes out, it’s never dirty or anything -- it’s always clean,” said Lakey. “But you can never see it, that’s the problem.”

Everett Public Works hasn’t found high levels of lead in their system for years but believe some customers could still be at risk.

“There are roughly 300 homes that might have galvanized lines,” said the agency’s spokesperson, Marla Carter.

Homeowner Dani Ruiz said her young family lives in an older home and she worries about lead.

“Especially with all the problems that are arising in public schools,” said Ruiz.

Tacoma Public Schools found high levels of lead in six schools since officials discovered year-old tests were never reviewed until last week.

Plus, Tacoma Water said up to 1,700 of its customers could still have lead gooseneck pipes and be at risk for higher-than-acceptable levels of lead. The obsolete lead gooseneck pipe brings water from the mainline to the meter.

But for families like Ruiz’s, she hopes Everett Public Works will keep their water system free from lead – and she appreciates the additional tests.

“That’s good news to me, you know,” she said.

Water quality tests from 2015 found very low levels of lead in the Everett Public Works’ system.

Results for the new tests taken on Wednesday could be back in a few days.



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