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Neighbors for a Better Lakeview

Chicago, IL 60657

 

Neighbors for a Better Lakeview© is a nonprofit 501(c)4 organization.

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Lead in Our Water

The lead issue in Chicago stems from the service pipes that connect residents’ homes and buildings to the municipal main lines. Prior to 1986, the City of Chicago required new constructions to install lead service lines. This practice changed when the federal government banned the use of lead in pipes that convey drinking water. As a result, Chicago has the most remaining lead service lines compared to any other city in the country.

Other cities including Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Denver, and St. Paul have instituted programs or set aside funding to provide property owners with options for replacing their lead service lines. Chicago, on the other hand, has embarked on a massive replacement of main lines throughout the city, but has not set aside any funds for lead service line replacement. At the same time, the EPA has conducted studies showing that street construction, including main line replacement, disrupts the anti-corrosion chemicals added to the water, leading to increased levels of lead for weeks to months after the construction.

Lead is a dangerous neurotoxin that the EPA says should not be consumed in any amount. Even at low levels previously thought safe, it can lead to long term brain damage, behavioral disorders, and stagnated intellectual development in children. Yet, 70% of the 2,797 buildings that have been voluntarily tested by residents and submitted to the Department of Water management in the last two years tested positive for lead. 30% of those buildings had lead levels higher than the FDA’s standard for bottled water.

The City of Chicago needs a plan to deal with this issue. There are many options used by other cities that could be enacted here. Help us call on our Mayor and City Council to find a solution.

Resources

To request a free water testing kit from the city you can call 311 or submit a service request through the city's website: chicagowaterquality.org

While waiting for a testing kit from the city, you can find a lists of certified lead filtration options here and here

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