Chicago stands as one of the last major cities to cease the use of lead in its service lines. This practice was so prevalent that it continued until 1986, the year when Congress officially banned it. Currently, Chicago faces a significant challenge with over 400,000 homes still utilizing lead service lines, a figure that is four times greater than that of Detroit. The city has embarked on an ambitious plan to replace these lines, aiming to address 2,400 homes annually at a projected cost of $45 million per year.
A recent feature in the Chicago Tribune outlines the city’s plans and objectives in tackling this issue. The article offers an in-depth look at the situation and the steps being taken to resolve it.
EPA Safe Lead Limits
Regarding safe lead limits, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes guidelines on permissible levels of various contaminants in drinking water, considering potential health risks and safety margins. For lead, the EPA has determined that the safest maximum contaminant level in drinking water is zero. This is because lead is a toxic substance that accumulates in the body over time, leading to various health issues.
The adverse health effects of lead are wide-ranging and serious. In children, even low levels of lead in the blood can lead to behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing issues, and anemia. In extreme cases, it can cause seizures, coma, and death. Pregnant women exposed to lead risk reduced fetal growth and premature birth. Lead can also affect adults, causing cardiovascular issues, decreased kidney function, and reproductive problems.
Green Tech Plumbing Can Help
For residents with old lead service lines connecting their homes to the street, Green Tech Plumbing offers a solution. With over a decade of experience serving the Northwestern Suburbs, they specialize in replacing lead service lines with copper ones, specifically Type K copper, which complies with building codes across all fifty states. This service ensures safer, cleaner water for homes, aligning with health and safety standards.