Your safety is our top priority. As part of a citywide effort to make sure our drinking water is safe, PF&R is testing public drinking water using protocols outlined in the EPA Technical Guidance, 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools.
Each bureau was asked by the City’s Office of Management and Finance to identify and prioritize their buildings based on facilities that serve drinking water primarily to infants, children, and pregnant women. PF&R’s Historic Belmont Firehouse is the only facility that fits this description at the bureau. The Portland Water Bureau tested the fixtures at the Historic Belmont Firehouse by taking samples and analyzing them in their laboratory.
The sample taken on 8/24/16 at the Historic Belmont Firehouse showed excessive lead levels (95.4 parts per billion when it should not exceed 20 parts per billion) in the drinking fountain located at a utility sink.
This fountain was taken offline immediately and permanently. Bottled water will be available upon request at the firehouse.
See the full results here: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/593291 and http://www.portlandoregon.gov/fire/article/593292?
Some more information about lead in water from the City of Portland:
Health Effects from Lead
What are the health effects of lead?
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body.
The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children, and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.
Who is most at risk for lead in water?
Children under six and pregnant women are most at risk for lead exposure, particularly if they live in homes with lead solder in their plumbing. These homes were typically built or plumbed between 1970 and 1985.
How can I test my child for lead exposure?
You can have your child tested by your pediatrician or through the LeadLine. Dates and times of free blood lead testing clinics can be found at www.leadline.org.
Multnomah County is the public health agency that tracks lead levels in blood. Of the 15,000 blood lead level tests conducted by the County and its partners between 2013 and 2016, elevated lead levels were found in 188 children in Multnomah County. No cases were traced to lead in drinking water from any source.
What resources are available to help reduce my exposure to lead?
As part of our lead hazard reduction efforts we partner with community organizations and governmental agencies that conduct lead hazard reduction education and outreach services in the Portland-area. Contact the LeadLine at www.leadline.org or 503-988-4000 for more information, or visit our Lead Hazard Reduction Program page to learn more about the organizations.