In the month of August, the EcOh theme focused on Sustainable Development Goal #6: Clean Water and Sanitation. The Sustainable Office Committee wanted to look at our office’s relationship with water. Through our research we found our common water usages as shown in Figure 1 (Perlman).
Portland’s water is supplied by the Bull Run watershed, providing the Oh office access to a high-quality resource. However, older city infrastructure has been known to add corroding metals to water, so we decided to test our water using a free lead test kit from Multnomah County. (Multnomah County residents can get one here) To request a lead kit in this county, we determined our water provider, filled out an online request form and waited two weeks to receive the test kit. After closely following the included directions, we sent our sample in for testing and waited a few weeks for the results. Our test results revealed that we had a lead result of 1.18 parts per billion (ppb) (to compare, the EPA standard is 15 ppb, while some homes in Flint, Michigan tested upwards of 130 ppb with one home on record of testing at 397 ppb.) No matter how pristine the original source of urban water supplies, some level of contamination is inevitable. The lead test kit allowed us to easily inform ourselves of the quality of our water supply, and it is reassuring to know that our contaminant level is well below the EPA standard.
Perlman, H. (n.d.) USGS. “Water Questions & Answers; How Much Water Does the Average Person Use At Home Per Day?”. https://water.usgs.gov/edu/qa-home-percapita.html