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In 1986, Gresham removed all known lead-containing service connections from its distribution system.

KOIN 6 NEWS PHOTO - Do not boil water to reduce lead, it will not remove the contaminant. The city of Gresham found elevated levels of lead concentrations in water samples taken from eight high-risk homes across the community.

Twice annually, the city tests water samples from 70 homes known to contain copper pipes and lead solder, which are both considered likely to contribute to lead in drinking water. Eight of those homes in the voluntary program were flagged for having amounts of lead above the action level of 15 parts per billion. The Oregon Health Authority requires public notification when more than 10 percent of homes sampled are above the action level.

"Protecting public health is a top priority for the city of Gresham," said Andrew Degner, water resources regulatory manager. "We've informed our customers of these test results and educated them on the ways they can take action to reduce exposure to lead in their water."

In 1986, Gresham removed all known lead-containing service connections from its distribution system. Exposure to lead through drinking water is possible if materials in a home's plumbing contain lead. High-risk homes were typically built between 1983 and 1985. Samples at the 70 homes were taken by homeowners.

Gresham purchases water from the city of Portland, which is improving corrosion control treatments to lessen the risk of lead in at-risk homes. The treatment will be in place no later than 2022.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the biggest sources of exposure to lead are not from drinking water but rather from exposure to lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil. Residents concerned about exposure to lead in their homes, especially those with pregnant women and children six years old and younger, can contact the LeadLine at www.leadline.org or 503-988-4000 to learn more about reducing exposure.

Residents can also order a free water test kit at www.leadline.org. More information on the city's water can be found at www.GreshamOregon.gov/Lead.

Reducing exposure

The city has five tips for reducing the chance of exposure to lead in water:

• Run cold water to flush out lead for 30 seconds to two minutes.

• Clean faucet aerators to remove trapped sediment.

• Do not cook, drink or make baby formula with hot water from the tap. Hot water dissolves contaminants, like lead, quicker than cold water.

• Do not boil water to reduce lead, it will not remove the contaminant.

• Install low lead fixtures and a lead-reducing filter.

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