IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT LEAD IN YOUR DRINKING WATER
February 2020 - The Village of Bartlett found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some homes/buildings. Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger. Please read this notice closely to see what you can do to reduce lead in your drinking water.
Health Effects of Lead
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. The greatest risk of lead exposure is to infants, young children and pregnant women. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.
Sources of Lead
Lead is a naturally-occurring metal. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure. The main causes of lead exposure are lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust or soil and some plumbing materials. Other sources include exposure in the workplace and exposure from certain hobbies. The primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust and lead-contaminated residential soil.
Exposure to lead is a significant health concern, especially for young children and infants whose growing bodies tend to absorb more lead than the average adult. Infants that drink formula prepared with lead-contaminated water are at a greater risk because of the large volume of water they drink relative to their body size. Lead is rarely found in source water but can enter tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Lead pipes, solder, faucets and plumbing fixtures made prior to 1986 may contain lead.
The Village’s source water, Lake Michigan, contains no detectable amounts of lead. As stated above, lead enters the drinking water primarily as a result of corrosion, or the wearing away, of materials containing lead in the consumer’s household plumbing and rarely from water in a utility’s distribution system. These household plumbing materials include lead-based solder used to join copper pipe, brass and chromium plated faucets, and lead service pipes connecting the home to the Village’s water main.
During the Village’s July through December lead and copper monitoring period, no lead values exceeded USEPA/IEPA’s limit of 15 ppb except for samples which were taken from customers who have lead service pipes. Of the approximately 13,500 service pipes in the Village, it is estimated that about 250 may have lead service pipes (<2%).
When water stands in lead pipes or plumbing fixtures containing lead for several hours or more, the lead may dissolve or leach into water. This means the first water drawn from the tap in the morning, or later in the afternoon after returning from work or school, may contain higher levels of lead.
What Happened? What is Being Done?
The Village sampled tap water for lead and copper concentrations for the July through December 2019 monitoring period. The Village sampled 30 houses with lead service lines and 30 houses with copper service lines. IEPA notified the Village that the sample pool exceeded the lead action level of 15 ppb. The 90th percentile value for lead in the Village’s sample pool during the July through December monitoring period was calculated to be 16 ppb.
The Village is investigating the cause or causes of the elevated lead levels that appeared in a limited number of homes. The source of elevated lead levels could be due to a change in water chemistry with insufficient time for the City of Chicago’s corrosion control inhibitors to form protective coatings needed to become effective combined with lead service and/or lead solder in the internal plumbing of homes. Plumbing materials made after 1986 are not expected to have lead solder. As of May 2019, the Village receives lead-free Lake Michigan water from the DuPage Water Commission, which in turn receives water from the City of Chicago. This water supply option was one of several alternatives evaluated by the Village Board and each change would most likely have triggered similar readings until the corrosion control inhibitors had a chance to line the lead service pipes.
The City of Chicago adds a corrosion inhibitor to all water it provides, widely known to remove iron and rust and protect against lead, including to the water it provides the DuPage Water Commission. The corrosion inhibitor forms a protective coating on the interior of lead pipes and soldered joints which prevents the lead from leaching into tap water. It will take a period for the inhibitor to establish this protective coating. The DuPage Water Commission supplies water to 28 communities of similar character to Bartlett. None of the 28 communities exceeded the IEPA lead action levels during the last rounds of compliance sampling which demonstrates the effectiveness of the City of Chicago’s corrosion control measures. In the meantime, the Village continues to re-sample tap water to confirm the treatment is taking effect and have seen a reduction in lead levels. The Village is in the process of implementing additional measures, such as installing a supplemental phosphate feed station at the Village’s water Receiving Station to “boost” the effectiveness of the corrosion inhibitor and reduce the time needed for the coating to become effective.
The Village has already met with the customers receiving tap water that exceeded the 15 ppb action level and provided them with faucet filters. If customers have a lead service line, we will provide a faucet filter and discuss our 50/50 lead service line replacement program. If your house was built prior to 1986 and you think you may have a lead service line, please contact Public Works to set up an appointment.
Steps You Can Take To Reduce Your Exposure To Lead In Your Water
If the level of lead found in your drinking water is above 15 parts per billion (ppb) or if you are concerned about the lead levels at your location, there are several things you can do:
• Run your water to flush out lead. If water hasn’t been used for several hours, run water from your kitchen tap or whatever tap you use for drinking and cooking for at least 3 minutes and it becomes cold or reaches a steady temperature before using it for drinking or cooking. This will help flush lead-containing water from the pipes. In order to conserve water, you can fill multiple containers after flushing for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.
See Daily Flushing of Plumbing reminder
• Clean your aerator. Regularly clean your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator). Sediment, debris and lead particles can collect in your aerator. If lead particles are caught in the aerator, lead can get into your water.
See How To Clean Your Aerator
• Use cold water filtered through a filter certified by the NSF to remove lead for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Read the directions to learn how to properly install and use your cartridge and when to replace it. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula. After filtering cold tap water, you can then heat the water prior to consumption.
See How Should I Use My Water?
• Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
• Consider alternative sources or treatment of water.
• Test your water for lead. Below are some options for testing for lead:
1. Home test kit available at Home Depot
2. Suburban Laboratories located in Geneva, 708-544-3260
3. Contact Village. If you have a lead service pipe, the Village will test your water.
• Identify if your plumbing fixtures contain lead. New brass faucets, fittings, and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free,” may contribute lead to drinking water. As of June 19, 1986, new or replaced water service lines and new household plumbing materials cannot contain more than 8% lead. Lead content was further reduced on January 4, 2014, when plumbing materials must now be certified as "lead-free" to be used (weighted average of wetted surface cannot be more than 0.25% lead). Consumers should be aware of this when choosing fixtures and take appropriate precautions.
For More Information
Call Bartlett Public Works at 630-837-0811. For more information about reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead or contact your health care provider.
Please share this information with all other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, schools, businesses).
• The Lake Michigan water Bartlett is receiving from DuPage Water Commission does not contain lead. The lead can leach from homes that have a lead water service, solder with lead and/or fixtures with lead. No Village Water Mains Are Lead
• The only houses that exceeded the lead level were houses that had a lead service. The houses with a copper service and solder/fixtures with lead did not exceed the lead level.
• The Village estimates that it has about 250 homes that have a lead service out of approximately 14,000 services.
• Houses built after 1986 – low risk for elevated lead levels.
• Houses built early 1970s to 1986 – most likely have a copper service pipe but may have solder/fixtures with lead. Some risk for elevated lead levels however, none of the samples the Village tested with copper services exceeded the lead level. You can test for lead with a home test kit available at Home Depot or call Suburban Labs, 708-544-3260
• Houses built prior to early 1970s – higher risk for elevated lead levels. Don't know if you have lead or copper service? You can set up an appointment for the Village to inspect; if lead service - Village can test water and provide filter
• The City of Chicago adds phosphate to the water to prevent corrosion. For phosphate to work, it is important to continue to regularly use your water.
What causes elevated lead levels in drinking water?
Despite the high quality of drinking water the Village of Bartlett delivers to consumers, the lead from older service connections and plumbing can leach into tap water. Leaching can happen when water leaves the public mains and flows through customer’s older lead service connections or plumbing, particularly if they are corroding, or through brass fittings that may have high lead content. Higher concentrations of lead are generally found in samples taken from taps that have not been turned on for several hours. For more information about how lead enters drinking water, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website: www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/prevention/sources/water.htm CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fnceh%2Flead%2Ftips%2Fwater.htm.
To date, Bartlett has identified that the likely cause of elevated lead levels in a limited number of homes is due to water chemistry interacting with lead pipes or solder made prior to 1986. Plumbing materials made after 1986 are not expected have pipes or solder containing significant levels of lead.
The Village's investigation indicates that Bartlett’s infrastructure and its source water do not contain lead. The Village’s source water, Lake Michigan, it receives from the City of Chicago also contains no detectable amounts of lead. Below is a link to the City of Chicago’s quarterly comprehensive chemical analysis webpage: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/water/supp_info/water_quality_resultsandreports/comprehensive_chemicalanalysis.html
Who will pay to replace lead pipes?
The Village of Bartlett has a lead service line replacement program under which the Village will share the costs of replacing customer’s lead service pipes (accessible from the exterior of the home) with the homeowner. Please call 630-837-0811 to learn more about this program.
Is lead in my drinking water a health concern?
There are many environmental sources of lead, such as paint, soil and dust. As these materials are ingested, the lead they contain can accumulate in our blood. Lead in drinking water is a minor contributor to overall blood lead levels in adults.
Elevated blood lead levels are a concern for unborn babies and children five years of age or younger because the volume of water they consume compared to their body size could lead to elevated blood lead levels. Young children absorb lead more readily than older individuals.
Pregnant women and parents of children five years of age and younger living in older homes can further reduce the health risk by:
- Using a water filter device approved by the National Sanitation Foundation;
- Using cold, flushed water for drinking and preparing food; and
- Avoiding consuming hot tap water—hot water may contain higher concentrations of lead.
You should also regularly clean your faucet’s screen (also known as an aerator). Sediment, debris, and lead particles can collect in your aerator. If lead particles are caught in the aerator, lead can get into your water.
For any age group, activities such as bathing, cleaning dishes, and washing clothes will not cause undue exposure to lead, regardless of the water lead level. Human skin does not absorb lead in water.
Does the Village of Bartlett’s water system have any lead water mains?
There are no lead water mains in Bartlett's public water supply system, or any lead in the water distribution system. However, there are some lead service lines to houses. If you are concerned about your individual property, please call 630-837-0811. The Village is happy to send a representative from the Public Works department out to your home to confirm there are no lead service lines leading to your property.
Is my tap water affected?
Not all properties are impacted. The Village of Bartlett individually notified customers whose samples showed elevated lead levels by calling or meeting with those customers directly. If you have not been notified directly, your tap water is not known to exceed the lead action level.
For more information on how to identify lead free certification marks for plumbing materials, please visit U.S. EPA’s website: https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPDF.cgi?Dockey=P100LVYK.txt
How is the Village of Bartlett addressing the situation?
As of May 2019, the Village of Bartlett receives water from the City of Chicago. The City of Chicago treats this water with a corrosion inhibitor widely known to be effective at forming a protective scale on lead pipes and solder and reducing the amount of lead entering the water. This particular treatment has been approved by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.
As customers continue to use the water, the corrosion inhibitor will form a protective coating on lead service pipes, solder and fixtures. This is expected to fully resolve the lead issue. In fact, recent sample results show the treatment process is already working. The Village continues to closely monitor the sample results to ensure it is effectively addressing the issue.
How often is the Village of Bartlett required to conduct water sampling?
The testing frequency for lead is governed by the U.S. EPA Lead and Copper Rule. New or altered systems must test more frequently while older systems with a history of acceptable results are required to be tested less frequently. In most cases, water utility companies test water every three years. Because of the change in water source, the Village of Bartlett is currently required to conduct lead and copper sampling twice per year. However, while working to resolve this issue, the Village of Bartlett is testing on a monthly basis.
The Village of Bartlett is required to test at least 60 homes but we have expanded this in subsequent rounds of testing until we see the lead levels drop below the IEPA limit.
Does boiling my water remove lead?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, boiling tap water will NOT reduce lead. To read more, please visit the CDC’s website at: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips/water.htm
Will any water filter remove lead?
According to federal regulators, only certain water filters reduce lead. The Village of Bartlett has delivered and made available faucet filters that are certified by the NSF, an accredited third-party certification body that evaluates point-of-use drinking water filters for lead reduction, to remove lead in water and as recommended by the EPA and the CDC. These certified filters make it safe to consume the filtered water when the filters are used properly. Please follow all manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper use.
Please see the U.S. EPA’s Consumer Tool for Identifying Point-of-Use Drinking Water Filters Certified to Reduce Lead here: https://www.epa.gov/water-research/consumer-tool-identifying-pou-drinking-water-filters-certified-reduce-lead.
Should I flush my pipes?
Yes. If your tap water contains elevated levels of lead, running your water for 2 to 3 minutes after the water has been stagnant for several hours can reduce potential lead exposure. The Village of Bartlett’s test results show a significant reduction in lead concentration in the water for samples that were collected after flushing the pipes for a few minutes. This is consistent with the EPA guidance that says flushing your pipes reduces lead in your drinking water, and you can flush your pipes by taking a shower, washing dishes or doing laundry. For these non-consumption purposes, it is safe to use your tap water without filtering.
To read more, please visit the U.S. EPA’s website at: https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and-drinking-water/basic-information-about-lead-drinking-water#reducehome.
Can I shower in lead-contaminated water?Yes. Bathing and showering should be safe for you and your children, even if the water contains lead over EPA’s action level. Human skin does not absorb lead in water.