Public Health Chief Addresses Lead Contamination in Chicago Homes

Erica Gunderson
Last week, Chicago city officials revealed that a significant sampling of city homes retrofitted with new smart water meters have elevated lead levels in their tap water. And the installation of the meters may be contributing to it. “We worked to pass a law in 2017 about school testing that also included a law on increased notification when construction happens, and it was a direct result of all of the science that says that lead spikes when you do any kind of construction on any part of the plumbing…And there is a specific provision in the law that we passed and was signed by Governor Rauner … that says if you are replacing a water meter, you have to give notice of the elevated lead risk.”

Walling also notes that while the water filters the city provides affected homeowners for free do make tap water safe to drink, they’re only a temporary solution to a much bigger problem. “A lead filter will remove any detectable level of lead, but … you do need to follow a particular schedule of replacement. People do have to be aware that they need to replace it on a regular schedule and make sure that it’s maintained, otherwise they’ve lost that safety measure.”

Read the entire piece at Chicago’s WTTW PBS

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