Lead Information

Olympia's Water is Safe 

Water faucetSafe and reliable drinking water is foundational to the quality of life in our community. The City of Olympia works diligently to maintain and safeguard the City’s drinking water system and water quality.

If, in the midst of recent news stories about lead and water quality, you’ve been wondering about Olympia’s drinking, here are some things you should know.

Olympia's Water System

The source of Olympia’s water does not contain lead or copper, and the City of Olympia has no lead service lines.

In other communities, lead gooseneck pipes used to connect a customer’s service line to the main water line have caused problems. Over the past 25 years, the City of Olympia has found only two lead goosenecks in our system - both were removed. Olympia has an active pipe replacement program and systematically replaces ageing pipes with safe and up-to-date piping material.

For more questions about Olympia’s drinking water infrastructure please contact: Jeff Coleman, Drinking Water Operations Supervisor at jcoleman@ci.olympia.wa.us or 360.753.8157

Olympia's Water Quality

The City of Olympia regularly tests its drinking water and last sampled for lead and copper in 2015. Our results meet or exceed all state and federal drinking water regulations, including the federal lead and copper rule. And the City is working to further improve water quality.

We have corrosion control facilities (aeration towers) at two of our groundwater sources and are in the process of building another facility to treat the water from McAllister Wellfield.

Olympia uses aeration towers to raise the pH of the water. Increasing the pH of the water reduces the chance of lead and copper leaching from household plumbing. The process of designing the new aeration towers for McAllister Wellfield began in 2013 and the project should be constructed in 2017. Upon completion of the new towers, all City of Olympia drinking water will have a higher pH, ranging from 7 to 8. The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. Zero is acidic like lemon juice, 7 is neutral and 14 is alkaline like baking soda.

Keeping Water Safe at Home

Even with a clean and safe water source and the City’s current piping system, there is no guarantee that the tap water in every Olympia residence is 100-percent lead free. Some homes, particularly residences built before the mid-1940’s, may still have old pipes that contain lead or lead solder that can leach into water before it reaches your tap.

If you have concerns about lead or copper in your home, here are a few simple ways to help reduce potential exposure:

  • If you live in an older home or if you’re concerned about lead, run the tap for two minutes (or until you feel a drop in the water temperature) after the water has been sitting in your pipes for more than 6 hours. This will help insure you are receiving fresh system water. You don’t have to waste the water you’re running; you can capture it and reuse it to water plants, flush toilets, etc.
  • Regularly clean your faucets’ screens and aerators to remove any possible lead particles.
  • Always use cold water for cooking, drinking and making baby formula.  Hot water may contain high levels of lead.
  • Use certified low-lead, non-lead or no-lead fixtures if you are replacing fixtures or remodeling. As of January 2014 a new federal law required a reduction of lead in fixtures from 8% to 0.25%. Fixtures are available that meet this new standard.

Testing Your Water

If you want to test the water in your home, the Department of Ecology has a list of certified drinking water labs. Please contact the laboratory directly for pricing and sampling procedures.


Contact Cheri Reimers at creimers@ci.olympia.wa.us 360.709.2774