Here’s what you need to know about the high levels of lead in Rathdrum’s water

The City of Rathdrum took a yearly water sample that showed high levels of lead. The tests were done in August and September with results that came back in mid-November. Residents were just notified this week of the high lead levels.

This was a move a few residents 4 News Now spoke to say they were not happy about.

“I wouldn’t rely on the government on solving this issue. It’s up to me, as a leader in my family, to make sure the water is safe,” said Joseph Roco, a Rathdrum resident.

City Administrator Leon Duce said they have been working back and forth with the Idaho Department of Quality to “provide response” to its residents in handling this.

Duce said lead in water is common, there just at low amounts of lead in water.

“The lead that’s in the water, you’ll find it all over the place. It’s a natural mineral within the earth and the aquifer,” he said. “There are standards as far as what the levels are acceptable and what’s not acceptable.”

The DEQ standard is 15 parts per billion. The sample taken in Rathdrum ranged from 30 to 63 parts per billion on the first round of samples.

A second round of tests came back today with results below the standard, which is good and normal. A third round of testing to confirm the results won’t come back until Dec. 16. The city is NOT under a water boil order, but it wants its residents to be aware. #4NewsNow

— Elenee Dao KXLY (@Elenee_Dao) December 5, 2019

A second round of tests confirmed Wednesday showed results below the standard at about 3.1 to 3.4 parts per billion. A third round of testing is currently underway. Those test results will come back in mid-December.

“We don’t have any worries right now. We’re drinking out of the tap water as well. I think the second results really showed and what we’ve seen in the past, very low levels,” Duce said. “When we get the third set of testing back, we’ll see whether or not the second test is good or if the first one [was].”

The city is not under a water boil order, but water authorities want residents to be aware.

Residents are encouraged to do the following:

Run your water to flush out lead – approximately 15 to 30 seconds
Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula
Do not boil water to remove lead: Boiling water will not reduce lead
Look for alternative sources or treatment of water
Test your water for lead
Get your child’s blood tested
Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead

The city gets samples from wells, distribution mains and homes that were built in 1996 or before.

“We don’t check in all the neighborhoods, because prior to 1996, copper and lead solder were used in doing plumbing fixtures, and so that’s where we’ve got to check,” he said.

The tests are generally done once a year, but if an issue comes up like this, they will have to test the water every quarter.

Water samples taken from homes are done on a volunteer basis. The city normally takes only 23 samples, but with the higher-than-normal results, they’ll have to increase that to 40 samples.

A letter sent out to residents included additional information about lead in the water. For updated information about results, visit the City of Rathdrum website.