Chicago schools and water infrastructure plagued by lead contamination
The plan requires only a one-time testing of schools with students up to fifth grade and facilities built before 2000.
If the water sources tested show contamination above five parts per billion (ppb) the school is required to notify parents.There are no provisions in the law that require action be taken by the school if contamination is discovered.
The law allows districts to use property tax dollars levied for school safety to cover testing and remediation costs.
A group of environmental organizations, citing the results discovered in the Chicago Public schools, pushed for a law requiring schools throughout Illinois to test for high lead levels in drinking fountains, sinks, and other water sources.
There are more than 4,000 miles of water mains under the city and the 10-year plan will replace 900 miles of water pipes.
The process of replacing these water mains actually disturbs the lead service lines and increases the amount of lead in the city’s drinking water.
Children ages five and younger continue to be harmed at rates up to six times the city average in corners of impoverished, predominantly African-American neighborhoods, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis of city records.
Chicago has cut funding for their anti-lead programs by 50 percent to $4 million.
Congress went even further by slashing funds 94 percent.
After three years without funding, Chicago received $347,000 last year compared to $1.2 million yearly between 2005 and 2010.