Portland has removed all known lead service connections from its distribution system, and its water supply consistently meets or surpasses all federal and state drinking water standards.
However, plumbing and fixtures in your home may leach lead into the water, especially hot water. Commons sources include:
- Lead solder, which may have been used to join your plumbing (common in homes between 1970 and 1985).
- Older (before 2014) brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures. As of 2014, all brass plumbing fittings must be no more than .25 percent lead.
Testing your water for lead
If you want to know if your home’s drinking water contains unsafe levels of lead, have your water tested. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent. Request a free water test kit»
You can also call analytical labs in your area to find out if they provide lead-in-water testing.
Easy steps to avoid possible exposure to lead from plumbing
- Run your water to flush out lead. If the water has not been used for several hours, run each tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until it becomes colder before drinking or cooking. This flushes water which may contain lead from the pipes.
- Use cold, fresh water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Consider using a filter. Check whether it reduces lead—not all filters do. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. Contact NSF International (1-800-NSF-8010) for information on performance standards for water filters.
- Consider buying low-lead fixtures. As of 2014, Federal law requires brass faucets, fittings and valves to contain no more than .25 percent lead. These fixtures are labeled as “lead-free.” See the NSF website for a list of lead-free faucets»
- Water Test Kit Instructions (PDF)
- Portland Water Bureau Drinking Water Quality Report
- Portland Water Bureau
- NSF International
Questions? Call the Leadline
Lead prevention information and referral. Spanish, Russian and Vietnamese interpreters available.