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Metro Parks Tacoma tests drinking water as a precaution

May 1, 2016 - Metro Parks Tacoma officials are testing the drinking water in parks and buildings throughout the district in response to new concerns about the potential for lead contamination in the community.

"We take the health and safety of our customers and staff very seriously, and we are taking steps to ensure our water continues to be safe to drink," said Erik Hanberg, president of the Metro Parks Board of Commissioners. "We commend Tacoma Public Utilities for its due diligence in discovering problems around the community last week.”

Metro Parks staff members are collecting samples from every water fountain in the district. They are also testing sinks in buildings and parks where water is intended for consumption. Sites include all of the community centers, sports field complexes, neighborhood parks, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and all areas at Point Defiance Park that are used by students of the Science and Math Institute (SAMI), for example.

The water samples are being sent to Spectra Labs in Tacoma. District officials expect to have results from the first wave of tests no later than Wednesday, May 4.

“As a precaution, it makes sense to ensure that the drinking water at district properties remains safe for all users,” Hanberg said. “We are talking with partners who use our sites, such as Tacoma Public Schools and the Boys & Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound, who also want to protect public health. If any of the individual tests come back showing levels above public health limits, then we will work with the appropriate authorities and take immediate action."

One area of concern cited by TPU involves short pieces of lead pipe – known as “goosenecks” – that were used up until the 1940s to connect water mains to customers’ service lines. Most have been removed from service over the years. TPU has researched records dating back decades and - so far - has not found any indication that gooseneck pipes are in use at any Metro Parks sites. Park managers continue to be in regular contact with the water utility.


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