The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency recently released its lead service line report where over 1,600 Illinois communities reported the amount of lead and copper solders they have in their communities as well as how many businesses and residential water systems have lead lines in them.
“We are really looking to gather as much information as we can on community water systems throughout Illinois. We know there are lead service lines in existence or copper lines that have lead solder on them, and we want to get a full picture of what each community has in their system, to determine if additional steps need to be taken to further protect the community water systems,” said IEPA spokesperson Kim Biggs.
In 1986, Congress banned the use of lead pipes to deliver drinking water. 33 years later, many Illinois communities are still working to get rid of lead pipe lines.
“If residents are aware that they have lead service lines within their property, in many cases those service lines are actually on the private property of the residence,” said Biggs.
The IEPA says not to stress about the report, but if you are concerned with lead levels in your water, you can go to its website to receive advice on what steps you can take to make your drinking water safer.
“There can be chemicals added to the water system that add a coding to the interior lining of the lead pipes that provides lead from reaching into the water. All communities do have to do lead and copper testing for their community water systems and that information is provided to us. If we do see elevated levels, they do have to take additional precautions to further protect the system through corrosion control treatment,” said Biggs.
Illinois American Water performs corrosion control treatment to provide safe water for homeowners. The IEPA says copper levels in water are usually created by the homeowner themselves.
One way to avoid copper in your water, is to not purchase a decorative faucet to go on your sinks.
You can find the lead service line information here: https://www2.illinois.gov/epa/topics/drinking-water/public-water-users/Pages/lead-service-line-information.aspx
The EPA has some tips for how to reduce your exposure to lead.
1: They say to only use cold water, and that boiled water does not remove lead from water.
2: Regularly clean your aerator.
3: Consider using a water filter for drinking water.
4: Before drinking water, flush your pipes by either running your tap, showering, doing laundry, or dishes.
You can find more information on lead in drinking water here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-08/documents/epa_lead_in_drinking_water_final_8.21.17.pdf