Report Claims Excessive Lead in Many WA Water Systems, Two in Franklin County
We've heard so much about the Flint, Michigan water woes, where lead from old, decaying water pipes has rendered the city water undrinkable. Now, USA Today as released a report claiming some 2,000 other water systems across the county have lead levels that exceed the EPA 'safe' standards, including several dozen in our state.
According to USA Today, these systems have all been tested in the last four years or sooner, and showed levels of lead in excess of 20 ppb, or parts per billion, of lead. The EPA considers 20 or below to be 'acceptable,' although they stress there's no 'safe' level of exposure to the element. 40ppb or higher is considered a considerable, dangerous health hazard, according to the EPA. Lead has been linked to a number of health issues over the last few decades.
Most of the systems affected were built before the 1980's or have sections that are older, despite having replaced some of their lines. The 1980's was when officials began to monitor lead and other potentially harmful chemicals in city and municipal water systems. Prior to 1980, according to USA Today, many systems used older lead pipe, which eventually corrodes and produces harmful levels.
According to the report, a number of water systems in Washington state have exceeded the 20ppb EPA limit, including one in Spokane, the City of St. John in Whitman County, one in Garfield County, and two in Franklin County.
USA Today published data claiming the Lamb Weston Water supply showed measurements of 270ppb. It also said Sunrise Estates in East Pasco on Anaconda off "A" Street showed levels of 20.2ppb. That water system serves 28 residents.
The USA Today report did not indicate the source, or where the water came from, that was tested at Lamb Weston.
However, a similar 2012 New York Times report dealing with the same issues showed Sunrise Estates water system to have nitrates that didn't exceed legal limits or health guidelines.
The water system in the small town of St. John in northern Whitman County reportedly showed levels of 73ppb, when tested, according to USA Today. A number of schools and other public water systems on the west side of the state, however, tested with levels that were well-beyond the 20ppb levels set by the EPA.