Executive Director’s Statement on Results from Zenger Farm Lead Testing

March 30,  2017

Dear Zenger Farm Community,

The safety of visitors, volunteers, and staff at Zenger Farm is our top priority. The City of Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) owns the land where Zenger Farm is situated, and is engaging in voluntary water testing of its drinking water fixtures across the city.

Today, Zenger Farm received the results from lead testing conducted by the Portland Water Bureau on March 1 and March 21, 2017. Please note that use of the trough located near the Zenger Farm was discontinued today, March 30, 2017, immediately after drinking water test results indicated elevated lead concentrations in that location.

Of the ten drinking water fixtures in common use in our facilities, only the trough had concentrations exceeding 20 parts per billion (ppb), while the others were below the actionable level. You find information about lead tests results on Portland Water Bureau’s website here. The elevated sample of 25.8 ppb came from the trough, which is used primarily as a handwashing station rather than a water fountain or food preparation area. Indoor drinking fountains and cooking stations did not have elevated lead levels.

Lead testing results for water fixtures will have no effect on agriculture or irrigation at Zenger Farm. According to a report by the Oregon State University Extension Service, “lead exists naturally in soils at levels of 10 to 50 parts per million.” Lead contributed from water is not significant compared to background levels present in soil.

We are committed to following EPA guidelines for follow-up testing and mitigation. Depending on the results of these efforts, which are yet to be determined, the trough may be returned to use in the future.

If you have any questions about the water test results, please contact me at mike@zengerfarm.org or call me at 503-282-4245.

To learn more about the risk of lead exposure and simple steps you can take to reduce your family’s exposure to lead, visit www.leadline.org or 503-988-4000.


Mike Wenrick
Executive Director
Zenger Farm