Two years ago, federal researchers found high levels of lead in homes where water mains had been replaced or new meters had been installed. Residents were not warned about the threats these construction projects pose, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans for more construction projects across Chicago.
According to the Chicago Tribune, researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that alarming levels of brain-damaging metal can flow out of household faucets for years after construction work disrupts service lines that connect buildings to the city’s water system. Nearly 80 percent of the properties in Chicago are hooked up to service lines made of lead.
The study also found the city’s testing protocols are very likely to miss high concentrations of lead in drinking water.
The city has issued letters alerting residents about the construction projects. These letters do not mention the hazards these construction projects pose or the harms that may be done to them by lead. The letters simply advise residents to flush faucets and house taps for several minutes after work has been completed to remove contaminants.
The EPA says this suggestion is “grossly inadequate”.
Besides the threat of new construction projects taking place across the city, Chicago is using corrosion-fighting chemicals to form a protective coating inside outdated pipes.
Instead of alerting citizens that they could be exposed to a deadly neuro-toxin, according to the tribune, city officials have repeatedly assured elected officials that their water is safe and there is nothing to worry about.
Thomas Powers, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Water Management, wrote in a October 2013 letter to aldermen in response to the EPA study. “Chicago water is absolutely safe to drink and meets or exceeds all standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois EPA.”
Protect yourself by purchasing an NSF certified water filter or by installing devices in your home that are capable of removing lead. For more information, visit Angel Water’s webpage