After the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, lead in the drinking water has been in the news. Most recently, Tacoma’s most recent sampling determined that there were elevated levels of lead, in service lines to four Tacoma homes.

Providing safe drinking water for Kent residents is important to the City of Kent. Water superintendent Sean Bauer says Kent’s water is safe.

Bauer also notes that the culprit for this in Tacoma seems to be “gooseneck” pipelines that were connecting to these four homes, that connect a water main to a service line. Gooseneck pipes were common practice prior to 1940, but they are no longer used today.

Lead-based solder was banned in 1986 in Kent, but small amounts of lead can still  be found  in homes with brass plumbing. These trace amounts can slowly dissolve into water after they stand in pipes for a long time. However, in the last ten years of annual water testing, the City of Kent has not found any detectable lead in the source water. Lead in drinking water typically comes from the corrosion of lead-containing plumbing fixtures.

Ground water and surface water from the Green River are Kent’s water system sources, and are treated with sodium hydroxide and aeration to raise the pH of said water. This process makes it less corrosive on plumbing, and will reduce the amount of lead that can dissolve into the drinking water.

However, in light of Tacoma’s finding, Kent is taking a look at homes that were built before 1940 within its water service area to check for lead gooseneck pipes.

Kent will not be checking houses that were built prior to 1986, but have offered up some tips to reduce any possible lead in your water. For example, if water has been sitting in your home’s plumbing for over six hours, flush the tap before you use, drink or cook with it. Make sure to run the water until it is noticeably cooler. Collect the water in a container and use it to water plants.

If you would like more information and are a part of Kent’s water utility, please contact 253-856-5600, or email [email protected] to schedule a test, or to ask questions you have about the quality of water in Kent.