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Seattle hunt for lead 'goosenecks' in private homes

Utility crews in Seattle and Tacoma are on the hunt for lead goosenecks.

Goosenecks are plumbing attachments installed on a couple thousand water lines in both cities. Utilities can see whether corrosion control measures are working by testing the water from those lines.

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Seattle and Tacoma do not have records of which homes are connected to a lead gooseneck.

Utility staff in Tacoma recently went door to door to notify people who might have one. That's after a small test of Tacoma homes with the lead attachment turned up high levels of lead in the water.

Seattle did testing too, but found out later the sample homes didn't have a gooseneck. So they're trying to find homes that do have them and will test the water for those homes this month.

Wylie Harper monitors drinking water quality for Seattle Public Utilities.

Harper: "Really this is about customer confidence, and we want to verify that, regardless of pipe material, that the corrosion control program is effective. And I think having results from that just bolsters that confidence."

Harper says without proper corrosion control, lead can leach from the goosenecks and in trace amounts from copper or brass plumbing. He says they are considering whether to search out the roughly 2,000 homes that have the lead fitting.