Lead Service Line Replacement
What Are Lead Service Lines?
The Village of La Grange Park receives drinking water from Lake Michigan and pumps it to residents through the Village’s water distribution system. Here is an example of how your home’s water service line connects to the Village’s water mains:
To ensure safe drinking water in the United States, federal regulations have guided intervention and regulatory efforts to successfully reduce exposure to water contaminants. In particular, public health advocates and agencies have researched the negative impacts of lead exposure in drinking water. Both the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974) and Lead and Copper Rule (1991) implemented restrictions to control lead in drinking water. Now, recent State of Illinois regulations require the Village to make an inventory of, and develop a replacement program for, lead water service lines owned by the Village and private property owners.
Although La Grange Park’s water meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lead level requirements, some of the pipes that connect older homes to the Village’s water system are made from lead. Lead service lines are a health concern because they can be a source of lead in tap water. Lead can be harmful to humans when ingested or inhaled and has been shown to cause delays in physical and mental development. Lead enters drinking water primarily because of the corrosion, or wearing away, of materials containing lead in private water service lines and household plumbing.
Important Resident Information
The Village of La Grange Park is committed to maintaining its public services through safe practices and proper equipment. As part of this commitment, and in response to the State of Illinois’ Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act, the Village is implementing its Lead Service Line Replacement Program to identify and replace lead service lines in our community.
The Program’s first step is identifying the total number of private lead service lines in the community. To do so, the Village needs your help.
Initial Survey Area (Approximately 450 Homes)
If your home is in the Program’s first program study area, you have already received instructions to schedule a free, in-home inspection with the Village’s contractor, Hancock Engineering. If you have not scheduled, please contact Hancock at 708-865-0300 as soon as possible. The Village is grateful for all the residents that have scheduled their inspections!
If you do not schedule an inspection and your home has lead service lines, you may become ineligible for any future Village or State of Illinois lead line replacement funding opportunities that may become available.
You must have an inspection if your home is located on the following streets (highlighted on the below map in yellow):
- Park Road between Ogden Avenue to Harding Avenue
- Malden Avenue from Ogden/Brewster to Harding Avenue
- Dover Avenue from Ogden/Brewster to Harding Avenue
- Brainard Avenue from Brewster to Woodlawn Avenue
- Stone Avenue from Brewster to Woodlawn Avenue
- Waiola Avenue from Brewster to Woodlawn Avenue
- Spring Avenue from Brewster to Woodlawn Avenue
- Robinhood Lane from 26th Street to 31st Street
- Kings Court
- Castle Circle
For the homes in the initial survey area, it is important to know that inspectors will require access inside of your residence, as most water meters are in the interior of buildings. The Village and Hancock Engineering will work to make the at-home inspection process as convenient and safe as possible for residents. Inspectors will carry an official identification badge and wear a face mask upon resident request. Please see below for more inspector information.
Rest of Community
Most homeowners are not required to have an in-home inspection. If your home is not listed above, the Village is asking you to complete an online survey to determine your water service line location and material. As of mid-June, the Village has started mailing postcards with survey information. If you have not received a postcard, click here to take the survey. The survey takes a few minutes to complete at home and requires a refrigerator magnet, screwdriver, and coin. If you are unable to complete an online survey or need assistance, you can request an appointment with Hancock Engineering by calling 708-865-0300.
Please visit https://lgpkwaterservicesurvey.com/ to begin.
1. Enter your contact and address information.
2. Find your water meter. Unlike gas and electric meters, most water meters in La Grange Park are located inside the home. Only a small percentage are located outside. Your water meter is likely located inside of your basement, utility closet, or crawl space. Click here for an interactive tool to help find your meter. If you cannot find your water meter, please contact Hancock at 708-865-0300 for assistance.
Image Credit: City of Evanston, IL
3. Measure your meter size. To find the meter’s size first look at the dial. Many meters have their size located directly below the gallon count. Sometimes it is stamped on the metal below the dial face. It will be something like 5/8” or 3/4” in most residential cases. If you are unable to determine your water meter size, please call Hancock for assistance at 708-865-0300.
4. Identify your water service line material. Service pipes can be made of lead, galvanized steel, copper, ductile iron, or brass. Lead, galvanized steel, and copper are the most common material types. Click here to learn how to determine your line’s material using your magnet, screwdriver, and coin. If you are unable to determine your line material, please call Hancock for assistance at 708-865-0300.
Image Credit: DC Water
Here is a short video from the Public Works team showing how you can determine your water service line material in just a few easy steps!
5. If possible, take a photo of your water meter and service line and upload into the online survey. This step is not required to complete the survey.
6. Using whichever date is the more recent, enter the approximate date your home was built or when you had your plumbing updated.
7. Click submit to complete the survey.
The Village may contact you if they have questions regarding your survey responses.
Following completion of the lead service line inventory, the Village will develop a comprehensive lead service line replacement program. This program will create a prioritized schedule to replace lead service lines and a funding strategy to pay for service line replacement. The Village intends to apply for significant state and/or federal funding to offset the cost of private lead service line replacement and will present information on next steps to the community during a public hearing in spring 2023.
The Village greatly appreciates your cooperation in making this project a success. For general project information, please contact Hancock Engineering Executive Vice President Mark Lucas via email at email@example.com or by phone at 708-865-0300.
Lead Service Line Inspectors
The Village and Hancock Engineering staff are the only individuals who will complete the scheduled home inspection process. Inspectors will need access to the inside of your homes as they will verify your water service. Inspectors have been reviewed and approved by the Village and will carry an official identification badge that verify their identity. Additionally, residents can call the Village if they have questions about inspectors at (708) 354-0225.
Frequently Asked Questions:
- What is lead? Lead is a naturally occurring metal that is harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Lead can be found in air, soil, dust, food, and water.
- How can I be exposed to lead? The most common source of lead exposure is from paint in homes and buildings built before 1978. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in American youth. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. Although the main sources of exposure to lead are ingesting paint chips and inhaling dust, lead also can be found in some household plumbing materials and some water service lines. The Environmental Protection Agency states that lead pipes are more likely to be found in older homes built before Congress enacted lead-reduction requirements as part of Safe Drinking Water Act amendments in 1986. As a result, homes built in or after 1986 are far less likely to have lead pipes.
- Does La Grange Park’s water have lead in it? To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the EPA has regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. As a result, the Village of La Grange Park regularly tests its water for lead, bacteria, and other regulated contaminants. The Village can report that no lead contaminant level violations were recorded during 2021.
- How do I know if I have lead in my water? First, If you have lead pipes, or if you see signs of corrosion (frequent leaks, rust-colored water), you may want to have your water tested. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent because you cannot see, taste, or smell lead in water. You can test your water using an at-home test kit or for more accurate results, ordering a test kit from a state-certified laboratory. To obtain a booklet of qualified laboratories, call the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Division of Laboratories at 217-782-6455 or to view accredited laboratories.
- If I have a lead service line, how can I reduce my exposure to lead in my drinking water? The best step you can take is to have your home’s lead service lines replaced. However, you can take action to reduce the amount of lead in your drinking water and minimize your potential for exposure by following the below recommendations from the American Water Works Association:
- Run your water to flush out lead. If water hasn’t been used for several hours, run the water for three to five minutes to clear most of the lead from the water.
- Always use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Never cook with or drink water from the hot water tap. Never use water from the hot water tap to make formula.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Periodically remove and clean the faucet screen/aerator. While removed, run the water to eliminate debris.
Image Credit: American Water Works Association