The number of people in Portland testing their water for lead has spiked dramatically this month.
In a typical year, the Portland Water Bureau sends out about 3,000 kits to customers who want to test their drinking water for lead. But in the first nine days of June alone, the water bureau has received 1,500 requests for test kits. And that’s on top of roughly 2,900 kits the water agency sent between January and May.
“It’s been quiet a significant increase for us this year,” said Scott Bradway, who manages lead hazard reduction efforts at the Portland Water Bureau.
He said the recent issues with lead in the drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and last month’s discovery of lead in the drinking water at Portland Public Schools’ buildings are likely driving the increase in requests for test kits.
“Any time people start hearing about issues around lead in water, it brings it to their forefront,” Bradway said.
He said testing takes between four and six weeks, but with the recent increase, it could take longer.
“We really encourage our customers to — if they’re concerned or interested about lead and water in their home — to request a lead in water test kit,” Bradway said. “We will get those kits out as soon as we are able. It may take us a little longer than usual.”