Jul 18, 2019

Illinois Village Provides Water Filters Following Lead Concerns

An Illinois village will provide $30,000 in water filters while replacing lead service lines

An Illinois village will provide $30,000 in water filters while replacing lead service lines

Oak Park, Ill. announced plans to provide $30,000 in water filters following village concerns that a water main replacement project may increase lead exposure in drinking water. 

According to the Chicago Tribune, residents are concerned a water main replacement project could release lead particles into the village’s water lines. In response, the village has said it will provide water filters to those affected. 

The village board approved the purchase of the filters July 8. According to the Chicago Tribune, the board’s goal is to create a new program for coping with the impact future water main projects may have on residents. 

Officials said 17 properties in total will be affected from the 191 residential units in the area. According to the Chicago Tribune, the lead exposure is particularly a health risk for children and pregnant women. 

“Young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can suffer profound and permanent adverse health effects, particularly affecting the development of the brain and nervous system. Lead also causes long-term harm in adults, including increased risk of high blood pressure and kidney damage," the World Health Organization’s website states, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Those affected will receive letters informing them about the project and also some water safety tips and how to receive their filters and cartridges, village staff said.

“We believe that would cover the time period where you could see increased lead levels in drinking water,” said Cara Pavlicek, village manager, to the Chicago Tribune.

Staff said they have also studied a similar program in Evanston, Ill., where filters and pitchers were offered to residents.

After the project was approved last month, this led Oak Park staff to the water filter recommendation. Village Engineer Bill McKenna said the village will be replacing a cast iron pipe with a new cast iron pipe, but most of the residential hookups to the village line will be lead.

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