Residents concerned after lead pipe is discovered in West Medford

Medford, Ore. — Medford Water Commission crews began digging Wednesday in search of lead pigtail pipes. It’s the first time the commission has started looking specifically for the problem pipe, and it happened only after NBC5 News brought the issue to light in early June. Now, the commission is actively searching, and on their first dig Wednesday morning, they found lead.

Medford resident Jesse Wilson is concerned after learning he is living in one of 6 residences that are now confirmed to be connected to a small lead pipe.

“The last 4 years there’s still been water consumption,” Jesse Wilson says, “so I’m very concerned. I’m a health conscious person.”

The dig on Oakdale Avenue was the first, as a list of more than a dozen potential problem areas in neighborhoods that predate 1946 gets longer. And at this point it’s still unknown whether the lead pipe is causing elevated lead levels in people’s water.

“We were following EPA guidelines which requires us to test homes from the early 1980’s,” Public Information Coordinator Sara Bristol says, “this will be the first opportunity to test a home that has lead pigtails.”

So for now, the road is patched, and the lead pigtail remains underground until the commission is able to complete a free water quality test. And Jesse Wilson says after unknowingly having a lead pipe for 4 years, he’s ready to get that ball rolling.

“Procedures take time,” Wilson says, “but it’s been too long.”

“It’s time to really speed up this thing and take action.”


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