Environmentalists push for lead pipe phase out

Illinois Capitol News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — A new push to phase out lead water pipes is working its way through the capitol.

But first, they are trying to figure out exactly how many lead pipe systems there are in the state.
The last inventory the state ran was in 2017. It found that Illinois still has around 680 thousand lead pipes in service, but that count marked thousands of pipes as unknown. There are 776,936 pipes made of unknown material in the state. Environmental experts want to clear up that data.

“Even though we say there are around 680 thousand lead service lines in Illinois, there could be much more than that, and there are communities that aren’t aware their own lead service line could be disrupted and cause issues for them and their family,” Colleen Smith with the Illinois Environmental Council said.

Degrading lead pipes can lead to issues if people drink the water from the pipes, especially in young children.

The bill is scheduled to come up for a vote in committee on May 19th. If it passes both the house and senate, it would require communities to make their own plans to replace the lead pipes in their systems.

The deadlines for those changes would vary based on how many pipes the community finds.

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