Why Chicago Needs Better Water Treatment Resources

Residential water filtration

Water treatment clarifier systems in Chicago will be more necessary than ever, following a report that showed lead contamination for a majority of homes’ drinking source in the city. A report showed that since January 2016, some 70% of almost 2,800 surveyed homes suffered exposure to tap water with lead contaminants.

It also revealed that at least three out of 10 homes use drinking water with lead that is beyond the Food and Drug Administration’s limit, which should not be more than 5 parts per billion (ppb).

Lead Effects

Other surveyed homes in the report may have a relatively lower level of lead contamination in their tap water, but the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control said that it might be a more pressing issue for children.

A recent EPA study noted that children who routinely drink water with more than 5 ppb of lead increase their risk for brain damage and learning disabilities, due to ingesting the metal. Meanwhile, part of the problem for the city’s drinking water sources stem from aging lead pipes.

Aging Infrastructure

A major cause of the problem involves aging lead pipes in the city’s water supply system. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proposed a replacement plan for 880 miles of lead service lines, which connect households to the main supply.

However, the project will require a significant amount of money aside from no guarantee of solving the lead contamination. For instance, replacement work on areas near the lead pipes may remove the protective coating that could allow more lead to seep into the tap water.

Public officials in Chicago need to address the issue on drinking water safety through investments in water treatment systems, while households should do their part by doing the same. What is the safety level of your drinking water at home?