Lead water pipes found in 341 homes in Naperville

by Bill Bird, originally posted on February 10, 2017


Hundreds of Naperville homeowners might have to spend thousands of dollars to replace water pipes that have been identified as containing lead.

Employees of the city’s water and wastewater utilities department to date have identified 341 houses with lead water service lines. Another 143 homes still need to be inspected, according to a city memorandum.

The pipes, in all likelihood, will have to be replaced due to health risks posed by lead. The total cost of replacement for the average house is in the $4,000 to $6,000 range, said Amy Ries, deputy director of the city’s department of public utilities/water-wastewater.

There are 43,000 residential water hookups to the city’s water supply.

Naperville most recently tested its water for the presence of lead in 2015, according to information posted to the city’s website. Test results showed “only one sample (reported) the presence of lead marginally above the detection level of 5 micrograms per liter … but below the action level of 15 micrograms per liter.”

Officials of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency last year directed community water suppliers – including Naperville’s Water Utility – to advise residents impacted by “construction activity such as water main replacement (and) repair, water meter replacement, or partial lead service line replacement” of things they might do to reduce their risk of exposure to lead.

Ries said city employees then created a map showing areas of town where lead service lines and plumbing materials might still be in use. The map was developed using historic, aerial photos of Naperville as well as property tax records, subdivision plats and construction permits.

“The map depicts two boundaries: an area of the properties constructed prior to 1930, when lead piping was banned in Naperville, and an area of properties constructed prior to 1986, when lead piping was banned on a national level,” according to the memorandum.

“To date, staff (members) have inspected 727 of 860 structures within the 1930 boundary area,” and confirmed 341 of those homes have lead service lines, the document said. The rest “will be inspected in the coming weeks, and we anticipate the survey to be completed by summer.”

Ries said the city will assist residents who want to test the lead levels of water in their homes. “We will provide them with information so that they can do so” using any of the certified laboratories in the Naperville area, she said.

“If people want to replace their lead service lines, we do have a rebate program for that,” Ries said.

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