The Illinois General Assembly approved SB550, or the Preventing Lead in Drinking Water bill. Because there is no safe level of lead in drinking water, IEC has worked hard over the past year to pass legislation that would require basic steps to protect children from lead poisoning. This bill is now on the way to the Governor’s desk, who is expected to sing it.
Illinois ranks higher than the national average for childhood lead exposure, which leads to lifelong intellectual, emotional and behavioral consequences. In 2014, 16 counties had more than a dozen cases of children with lead poisoning, and rates among minority children are even higher.
SB550 enacts common sense steps to to identify Illinoisans’ risk of being poisoned by lead in water. This legislation:
- Requires testing at schools and child care centers for lead;
- Increases parental notification when lead has been found;
- Expands notification in residential areas when construction near water mains may spike lead levels, and;
- Mandate water suppliers compile an inventory of residential lead service lines so that we know where they are and can replace them.
The Preventing Lead in Drinking Water bill represents the result of rigorous negotiations. We are grateful to the office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan for convening negotiations and drafting this legislation along with IEC and our environmental colleagues. Stakeholders such as the Illinois Pipe Trades Association, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Municipal League, Illinois Section of the American Water Works Association, Illinois American Water, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois Action for Children, Ounce of Prevention, SEIU Healthcare, Illinois School Management Alliance, and many others worked together to craft this important bill. Staff from the Office of Governor Bruce Rauner worked on the bill as well and the Governor is expected to sign it when it comes to his desk.
We also thank our bill sponsors, State Senator Heather Steans and State Representative Sonya Harper for their hard work.
Hundreds of our supporters contacted their legislators on this issue as well. We are incredibly grateful to you for your support.