Stories about lead-contaminated water keep turning up like a bad penny. News about the Flint, Michigan tragedy has spurred fears in other cities about lead-poisoned water. Lead in Portland, Oregon water has made headlines. While Portland’s source water is considered safe, that hasn’t kept lead from seeping into the water supply.
Some older homes, schools and other buildings are at risk for lead in water because of old pipes and plumbing. When Portland’s naturally corrosive water meets these old fixtures, lead can leach into water.
If you’re worried about lead in your Portland, Oregon area home, you can get a free test of your water. You can minimize exposure to lead by flushing standing water from pipes. First thing in the morning or after plumbing hasn’t been used for several hours, run the tap for about two minutes. This will flush out water that has been sitting in pipes and can lessen the risk of consuming lead that has leached from plumbing.
Reduce Lead Exposure With Plumbing Upgrades
Plumbing upgrades can also lessen exposure to lead. Here are some of the repairs you can make to protect your water.
Replace aerators: Aerators mix a little bit of air into water. They help conserve by slowing the flow from the tap. They also reduce splashes and produce a gentle, even stream from the faucet.
Aerators contain a fine-mesh screen. Particles, including small pieces of lead from pipes, can lodge in the screens. Ask your plumber to replace the aerators in your faucets and make sure the aerators are cleaned regularly.
Filter your water: Filters can clean contaminants from household water. A plumber can install a filter on your kitchen tap. Whole-house filters are also available. No matter what type of filter you use, make sure it’s rated to remove lead. Be sure to maintain the filters so they remain clean and effective.
Update brass fixtures: Some older plumbing fixtures, especially those made with brass, may contain small amounts of lead. These types of fixtures are no longer sold for new construction, but your home may contain older faucets or pipes. If in doubt, hire a plumber to inspect and replace your old faucets or brass fixtures.
Repipe your home: Homes haven’t been built with lead pipes for many years. But some older houses may contain pipes that are joined using lead-containing solder. Buildings with copper pipes in particular should be tested for lead. Copper pipes were traditionally installed with lead sodder.
Even if your home’s plumbing is old, it may be safe. Naturally occurring minerals from water coat pipes and can form a protective layer. However, when the pH in water changes, it may loosen the minerals causing debris from corroded pipes and solder to break loose.
If this happens, water may become contaminated. Repiping your home can protect against this possibility.
Portland treats its water to make it less corrosive. However, water treatment practices sometimes change according to the whims of public opinion. If you own a home with old pipes and fixtures, replacing them with safe, modern systems may offer you peace of mind.
Test Your Water and Seek Expert Plumbing Advice
Take advantage of lead testing. Ask a plumber for help in evaluating your home. Apollo Drain can help you inspect and maintain your plumbing. Contact us for more information.
Fantastic customer service. We were out of town when tenants needed help with a plumbing issue. They let us know who was being dispatched to our house then followed up with a very detailed message post work. I would definitely use these guys again.
I can’t say enough good things about this company. Had a sewer repair needed and had a very short amount of time due to closing on a house sale. Every single person I encountered from Marquita doing logistics for my job to every member of the work crew. Friendly, communicated well, totally responsive and really cared to help me through this very stressful job. All of the people I encountered were role models for what a well run service business should be. Much thanks and appreciation. You’re great.
We had a leak and no hot water. Apollo came out same day and not only fixed the problem but made it better and gave us some good advice on our system. Very reasonable and great communication. Would definitely recommend.
Don is always so helpful and knowledgeable. I really appreciate all the crew members on the Apollo team. I'm a Property Manager so typically I will have several projects for Apollo to address during a single visit. They are easy to interact with and EXCELLENT plumbers. I highly recommend Apollo.
Scott, I would like to personally thank you for expediting our plumbing crisis we recently had. If the situation was not resolved immediately we would have had to close for a couple of days. This occured on a Friday for for us a pizza restaurant this would of been devastating. Thank you so much.
STARK STREET PIZZA COMPANY
It's my absolute pleasure to recommend Karen Johnson at Apollo Drain and Rooter Service. I have had the pleasure of taking a class taught by Karen. Her knowledge and expertise is a huge advantage to my entire office. I know if I am in a pinch I can call the office and talk to someone! Their customer service is truly amazing, and I have had compliments from customers in the past.
NEXTHOME NW REALTY
We are a Wendy's Restaurant franchisee in Vancouver, Washington and I want to personally thank Scott and his crew at Apollo for invaluable and excellent service to our restaurants over the last several years. We have used Scott's company after failing miserably with Apollo's many competitors. We tried every one before discovering the extraordinary service we enjoy from Scott and his techs.