City of Hillsboro Water Department (HWD) wants to help protect families from household lead exposure.
How does HWD Eliminate/Reduce Lead Exposure for Customers?
- All known lead service lines or infrastructure components in Hillsboro's water system have been removed or replaced. There is no known sources of lead in the water system at all.
- All water delivered by HWD to homes and businesses in its service area has gone through optimized treatment for corrosion control. This reduces the potential for lead to leach from private plumbing fixtures.
- Water delivered to HWD customers has a pH of 7.2 or higher to minimize pipe corrosion.
- Hillsboro complies with regulatory testing requirements and has never exceeded the action level in the city system. Sampling began in 1992, and testing occurs every three years, with the last round of testing occurring in 2015. Samples are collected from at least 30 Hillsboro homes that were constructed from January 1, 1983 to June 1, 1985. Homes built during this timeframe are considered at highest risk for lead exposure through household plumbing sources.
- HWD offers a free community lead testing program. (See details below.)
Community Lead Testing Program
Lead is a major health threat to children and pregnant women. If your home was built between 1970 and 1985, lead solder may have been used to join the pipes. Testing at the tap is the only way to know if the solder is leaching lead into your drinking water.
On July 1, 2016, HWD began a community lead testing program for Hillsboro Water Department customers. The free program is offered to Hillsboro residents, childcare facilities (daycares), and nonprofit organizations who are current customers and located in Hillsboro Water Department's service area. The free testing program is not being currently offered to businesses, but Hillsboro Water can provide information on accredited laboratories to any commercial customers wanting to test their facilities.
Qualifying HWD customers may pick up a sampling kit at the Hillsboro Water Department Office located at the Hillsboro Civic Center, 150 E Main Street, Third Floor. Customers may pick up a new kit, or drop off their completed kits Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 4:30 pm, excluding holidays. The Test Kits are free to eligible customers and include:
- Lead Testing Instructions and Submittal Form
- Large Sampling Bottle
- Small Sampling Bottle
- A printed list of the Steps you can take to reduce exposure to lead in drinking water (Also available below.)
Samples taken by customers and returned to the HWD office for testing will be shipped to an OHA-accredited laboratory. The Lab will perform the water analysis work and return the results to HWD. Staff will send the results to customers via email. If results show the customer's sample to exceed the recommended action level set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), of 15 parts per billion (ppb), HWD staff will work with the customer on a re-sample and provide information to the customer on reducing lead exposure through drinking water. With the exception of re-samples for customers who exceed the 15 ppb action level, customers can only request free lead testing through HWD once every two years (24 months) from the date of the previous test.
Steps You Can Take in the Home to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water:
- Flush pipes before drinking. If water hasn't been used for several hours, run faucet until the water feels cooler.
- Use only water from the cold-water tap for drinking, cooking and especially for making baby formula. Hot water is likely to contain higher levels of lead and other metals.
- Change out old fixtures. Plumbing regulations now stipulate that all fixtures must be manufactured lead-free. Consider installing new fixtures and/or pipes to eliminate sources of exposure.
- Test water. The only way to know if lead is present in your household water is to have it tested by an Oregon Health Authority (OHA) accredited laboratory.
- Other sources of household lead contamination, such as lead-based paint, can put children at risk. Contact the Washington County Health Department for additional resources on lead reduction.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will concentrate lead - not remove it.
- Additional information on minimizing lead exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline: 503-988-4000, the Environmental Protection Agency Website, or the Center for Disease Control Website.
Statement of Liability:
HWD is providing free lead testing to qualifying customers as a community service. HWD has no responsibility or authority to enforce any action on the customer for reduction of lead exposure. The responsibility for identifying and implementing any actions needed to address lead levels detected at or above the action level at the customer's testing location rests solely with the customer.