Water fountains shut off at Multnomah Arts Center due to concern - KPTV - FOX 12

Water fountains shut off at Multnomah Arts Center due to concern of elevated lead levels

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Courtesy: Portland Parks and Recreation Courtesy: Portland Parks and Recreation
Courtesy: Portland Parks and Recreation Courtesy: Portland Parks and Recreation
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Drinking fountains have been turned off at the Multnomah Arts Center, and all sinks have been labeled “do not drink” due to lead concerns according to Portland Parks and Recreation.

The community conversation around lead levels in drinking water prompted Portland Parks and Recreation officials to review past testing results in park facilities, and begin testing on priority sites in the coming weeks as a voluntary precautionary measure.

After consulting with the Portland Water Bureau, Portland Parks and Recreation focused on lead levels at the Multnomah Arts Center, Portland Children’s Museum, and the Fulton Community Center.

The Multnomah Arts Center is the only site that has had test results that has caused concern.

In 2013, drinking fountains at the Multnomah Arts Center had elevated lead levels, according to Portland Parks and Recreation.

Portland Parks and Recreation officials also learned that elevated levels of lead were detected in 2011 and 2012. Some corrective actions were taken for sinks in 2013, but PP&R is still reviewing those records.

Fountains were replaced or installed with filters on Tuesday, May 31.

The reason for the delayed action is under review, according to Portland Parks and Recreation.

According to Portland Parks and Recreation, water fountains at the Multnomah Arts Center will be shut down until all retesting is complete. In the meantime, bottled water will be provided to all MAC staff and visitors. 

In a release by Portland Parks and Recreation, Director Mike Abbaté said:

I am sorry that Portland Parks & Recreation did not notify the Commissioner in Charge or the MAC community of these test results when they occurred, and that we did not ensure that protocols were in place to ensure immediate and complete remediation. Over the coming weeks, we will review what happened and institute new safety and reporting protocols. We are retesting the site so that our staff and visitors can be assured that lead levels for drinking water are within EPA guidelines. Working with our partners at the Portland Water Bureau, we will also prioritize testing at Fulton Community Center and the Portland Children's Museum, even though we have no previous elevated lead level results at those sites.  We will publish testing results as soon as possible."

A flushing protocol at the Fulton Community Center and Portland Children's Museum has also been initiated prior to opening the facility each day in partnership with the community operators of those sites, according to Portland Parks and Recreation.

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