Illinois officials look for ways to fight Legionnaires disease
The Illinois Pollution Control Board voted to increase chlorine in drinking water. If approved, the new minimum requirement of chlorine in drinking water in the state of Illinois would be 1 milligram per liter. According to KHQA, the chlorine increase would not only be in Springfield, but in every municipality in the state.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 42 residents of the state lost their lives to Legionnaires' disease last year. According to KHQA, the Illinois Pollution Control Board has now voted to increase the amount of chlorine in drinking water.
The minimum requirement currently is 0.5 milligrams of chlorine per liter. However, if this rule passes, the minimum would become 1 milligram per liter, according to KHQA.
Some think this may help; however, others in Illinois think there are better ways.
“To make that assumption that chlorine is going to solve the problem for Legionnaires', I just don’t think it will and I don’t think people should have to have it if they don’t want it,” said Paul Ray, a Springfield resident.
President of American Water and Air Dirk Homeier does not think this is a good long-term move.
“Yeah, Legionnaires' is horrible in the short term but long term, the effects of the exposure to chlorine far outweighs that,” Homeier told KHQA.
The following is a statement from City Water, Light & Power (CWLP):
“We do not believe increasing the chlorine level is the answer to reducing Legionella. Interior plumbing system requirements such as Water Management plans that include flushing programs for properties is the answer, as it is known Legionella and other bacteria grow where water is aged and stagnant, especially in buildings with old plumbing.”
CWLP said “their chlorine residuals are already over 1.0 [milligram per liter], so it would cost them under 10,000 to install new flushing stations.” However, other cities in Illinois may see much higher costs.