50+ potential problem areas as Water Commission begins search for lead pipes

Medford, Ore. — The Medford Water Commission has compiled a map indicating city water mains that pre-date 1946. This comes as the Water Commission Board directs staff to take immediate action on investigating areas where short lead pigtail pipes may still be in use. NBC5 News broke the story Monday, after receiving information one had recently been uncovered.

The areas marked in red indicate water mains that pre-date 1946, it includes about 4,000 lines within West McAndrews, N. Riverside, Jackson Street and Stewart Avenue. Of the commissions 33,000+ service lines, stats indicate 52 meter boxes have galvanized pipes, which the commission says is an indicator that a lead pigtail could be under ground.

“Galvanized pipe are very straight pipe and a lead pigtail was used as a connector because you could make a curve,” Public Information Coordinator Sara Bristol says, “those¬†two we’re seeing in combination with each other as a fairly high likelihood that their could be lead pigtail.”

Another 115 service lines are listed as “unknown”. The Water Commission says crews will be on foot investigating all meter boxes within those 4,000 services beginning as early as next week. They’ll be providing flyers to homeowners in the area about what they’re doing, and will offer water testing both before and after a lead pigtail is removed to compare levels.


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