Additional sampling at four Tacoma homes shows low lead results

Additional sampling taken inside four customers’ homes to better understand the current risk of lead exposure shows results that are much lower than samples taken from pipes outside the homes in early April. The original test results from outside pipes showed lead levels ranging from 100 to 400 parts per billion.

While these results are good news, there is still much work to do.

The water collected in the additional samples was not stagnant water; it represents the type of water coming from the tap with regular water use in the home. Tacoma Water’s next round of samples from the three houses will test for lead levels after water has been stagnant for at least 6 hours. We will release the results to the people in the homes we tested and to the public.

The next round of results will provide more useful information for the 30,000 customers whose lead goosenecks and service lines have been replaced in the last several decades.

We received results today from samples taken inside three homes on April 20. The results showed significantly lower lead levels – ranging from less than .05 to .38 parts  per billion. (The fourth house was not retested because it’s unoccupied.)


The federal action level of lead in drinking water is 15 parts per billion.



(in parts per billion)


(in parts per billion)

House 1

Less than .05 to 0.38

1.39 to 395.00

House 2

Less than .05 to 0.21

0.65 to 97.9

House 3

Less than .05 to 0.062

0.61 to 96.6

House 4

No samples taken

0.18 to 126.00


Prior to collecting these additional samples, the service lines, including the goosenecks, from the main to the meter were replaced.

As a common practice, all customers should flush their water after long periods without use. To flush pipes at home or at a business, people should:


  • Run their cold water for at least two minutes. This is especially important if they have not used water for 6 hours. Taking a shower and watering the lawn count as flushing.
  • Once the pipes have been cleared, run cold water for 15 seconds before drinking or cooking

Customers who want more detailed information should visit or call (253) 502-8207 or (253) 502-8384.

Information about lead from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

According to the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, drinking water is low on the list of sources of lead exposure.

The most common sources are lead-based paint, dust and contaminated soil. They all can contribute to a person’s overall lead exposure. In the area of the Tacoma Smelter Plume, lead contamination of the soil is a health concern. Residents should learn more about the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Dirt Alert program to find out if they should have their yard tested for lead. (

Visit for more information.

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