The City of Redmond’s drinking water remains safe and protected from contaminants, including the group of human-made chemicals labeled PFAS (per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances). PFAS are manufactured for a variety of industrial purposes. If detected in drinking water, PFAS have the potential to raise health concerns. For more information about PFAS, including the health and safety risks associated with these compounds, visit the Environmental Protection Agency and Washington State Department of Health websites.
- What are PFAS?
- How does PFAS affect my health?
- What can you do about PFAS?
- Monitoring drinking water
- Monitoring groundwater
PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that have the potential to adversely affect human health and the environment. PFAS have been manufactured and used in the US and around the world since the 1950s in food packaging, non-stick cookware, and firefighting foam.
PFAS chemicals build up over time and can cause cancer and other illnesses when they reach higher concentrations in the body. When concentrations of PFAS are found in drinking water, they are typically very low compared to other sources but can contribute to levels found in people’s bodies from commercial sources.
PFAS can be removed with home filters that use granular activated carbon (GAC). Examples are filters by PUR© or Brita© – look for “activated carbon” in the product description. Additional information can be found at:
Washington State Department of Health: www.doh.wa.gov/CommunityandEnvironment/Contaminants/PFAS
Environmental Protection Agency: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos
Redmond supplies drinking water to customers from five City supply wells and from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Tolt River Watershed. The City supply wells pump groundwater, which is water stored underground in the pores between the sand and gravel that are under Redmond. Although PFAS are not regulated contaminants, and routine testing is not required, the cities of Redmond and Seattle tested their water sources in 2015 and found no detection of PFAS. The City of Seattle conducted additional testing in 2018 and again found no detection of PFAS in the Tolt River Watershed supplies. Redmond conducted additional testing in 2020 and found trace amounts of PFAS in one water supply well. This well has been taken out of production and no longer supplies drinking water to residents. The City will re-sample all the drinking wells in November 2023 for PFAS following the latest sampling protocols.
In addition to the sampling requirements at our drinking water supply wells, Redmond’s Groundwater Protection Program manages a network of groundwater monitoring wells where samples are collected semi-annually. This groundwater monitoring network acts as an early warning system to identify emerging contaminants in our aquifer before they reach our drinking water supply wells. Since 2018 a small number of these monitoring wells have detected PFAS. These wells continue to be monitored for detections, as well as changes in state and federal regulations and adapt to new sampling and testing protocols.
Drinking Water Quality
Redmond is part of the Cascade Water Alliance (CWA) and buys 60% of its supply from the Seattle Tolt River supply through the CWA. The rest of our drinking water supply comes from our five municipal supply wells that serve the areas of town east of the Sammamish River. The City of Redmond believes that safe drinking water is no accident - it is our highest priority - but we need your help to continue to be successful.
Redmond’s Wellhead Protection Ordinance was a major step toward protecting the approximately 40% of our City’s drinking water supply that comes from groundwater. Learn more about Redmond’s groundwater and wellhead protection program here.
Redmond’s drinking water meets or exceeds all Environmental Protection Agency and Washington State Department of Health drinking water regulations. Water from each supply well is treated before it enters the City water supply system. Currently, Redmond provides three types of treatments - fluoridation, chlorination, and pH adjustment - to comply with these regulations.
Lead service line inventory
On January 15, 2021, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued Lead and Copper Rule Revisions (LCRR) that went into effect on December 16, 2021. The LCRR requires jurisdictions to collect and submit service line inventories to the Department of Health. The City of Redmond Water Quality Division of the Public Works (PW) Department is required to follow this updated rule. This effort is to minimize potential health risks to the community.
If your home or business was constructed before 1969, please complete the voluntary lead service line inventory survey by visiting redmond.gov/lead.
Lead is a common metallic element in nature found in air, soil, and water. It is also a potent toxin that is harmful to human health. Lead is colorless and tasteless and is not readily apparent in water. The only way to determine whether your drinking water contains lead is to have your water tested by a certified laboratory. Contact the City at LSL@redmond.gov to find options available in your community.
Lead is a toxic metal that can cause immediate and long-term effects at high doses if it builds up in the body over many years. Lead can cause brain and kidney damage and affects blood and vitamin D metabolism. In children, low levels of exposure have been linked to damage to the central and peripheral nervous system, learning disabilities, shorter stature, impaired hearing, and impaired formation and function of blood cells. While people are more commonly exposed to lead through paint, soil, and dust, the U.S. EPA estimates infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 – 60% percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Lead contamination rarely occurs in the water system between the treatment facility and the service line as water flows through the mains beneath the streets. However, in some older homes, lead may be present in the pipe connecting the house to the water system – known as a service line – or in the home plumbing. Lead in service pipes or plumbing can dissolve or break off into water and end up at the tap.The City is committed to providing customers with abundant, safe, clean, and reliable drinking water. Thanks to the dedication of city staff, Redmond’s drinking water continues to exceed the highest drinking water standards in Washington State.
Meters & Leaks
Our Water System Operations staff install and read water meters, locate and repair leaks in the City’s system, and maintain other system components.
We can assist in locating your water meter, reading your meter, water shut-off for emergencies, diagnosing pressure problems, and advise for tracking down system leaks. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the service line from the meter to the home or business.
Our water meter readers work throughout our neighborhoods and business districts. They read residential meters (bi-monthly) and commercial meters (monthly), then send this information to Utility Billing for processing. The readers also install and repair meters do final reads for billing, shut-offs, meter turn-on, and other service orders.
Water Meter Accessibility
Our staff reads your meter either monthly or bi-monthly, depending on your account type. Please keep your meter accessible so our staff can quickly read your meter on the first visit to your property. If your meter is obstructed, a meter reader must return to your property to clear the obstruction and read your meter. A charge to your account will occur for this return visit. By keeping your meter box clear, you can avoid this charge. Additionally, a clear box makes it easy to ensure that the lid fits properly, is safe, and that the meter can be quickly turned off in an emergency.
Trees, bushes, and plantings
- Trim bushes, trees, and grass that block the way or cover the meter. During the growing season, plants can quickly cover a water meter box.
- If you add bark or gravel in your landscaping, please take time to remove any debris covering the meter box.
- Please minimize plants where meter readers must travel to get to your meter. We want to avoid any accidental damage to your prized plantings.
Objects that cover or block your meter
- Please ensure no objects cover or block access to the meter box. Some examples we have encountered include cars, trailers, garbage cans, recycling bins, construction equipment or supplies, landscape bark, or gravel.
- Please do not construct structures such as sheds, mailboxes or fences over your meter box. If the meter box cannot be quickly accessed in an emergency, utility personnel will have to remove the structure.
- Please ensure your house address is clearly displayed on your residence.
- This also assists emergency personnel who may need to find your home quickly.
- Keep pets away from the path that leads to your meter.
- If you have a guard dog for security, please let us know so that we can make sure that our meter readers and other utility personnel are aware of this.
Help Conserve Water
After an unusually dry summer, Redmond, in partnership with Seattle Public Utility and Cascade Water Alliance, will work together to save and stretch our water supply. Sixty percent of Redmond’s drinking water comes from the Tolt River Reservoir, and until we get enough fall rain to keep people and fish healthy, we should all do what we can to save. The City of Redmond will reduce the water we use for city operations by draining decorative fountains and moving early to our winter watering schedule.
- Is water usage reduction mandatory?
- Why are we trying to reduce water usage when it is raining outside?
- Why are the City of Redmond, Seattle Public Utilities, and Cascade Water Alliance (CWA) all activating their water shortage response plans together?
- How can I reduce water usage in my home, yard, or workplace?
Learn More About Redmond's Drinking Water
Listen to an episode of the We Need Water podcast featuring City of Redmond Environmental Geologist Jessica Atlakson.