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Lead water pipes in Naperville residential area being replaced as part of new water main installation – Chicago Tribune

The old, underground lead plumbing that feeds Naperville single-family homes on Wright and Columbia streets in the area where a new rowhouse development is being built will be replaced in the coming month.

A new water main was installed to meet the needs of the residents at the Heritage Place rowhouse development under construction on the site of the former Little Friends property, according to construction manager Mark Papa.

Naperville is taking advantage of the situation to change out the lead lines going to homes in the area, Papa said.

Work is slated to start Wednesday installing new service lines and replacing any pipes that are made of lead. Construction is expected to take a month to complete, weather permitting.

Last year, Gov. JB Pritzker signed legislation requiring the full replacement of lead drinking water pipes over the next 20 years.

Of the 43,843 connections in Naperville, 368 were found to lead as of April 2021, a report from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency said.

The city has been replacing lead service lines when possible, most often in conjunction with water main projects.

Under recently imposed IEPA requirements, the city must notify residents when their water meter is being replaced and when a water main replacement or repair is occurring within one block of their location.

Both can cause lead from the pipes to be dislodged and released into the water, according to the city’s website.

The city reported about 25 lead service lines were replaced in 2021 as part of water main work in the Naperville Heights area.

Officials said other lead line replacement will be done when water mains are replaced in the following areas: Park addition, West Highlands, Bay Colony, Mill Ponds, Baileywood, Martin’s second addition, River North, Kingston Green, Brush Hill, Indian Hill, Wil -O-Way, Columbia Estates, Bennington, Maplebrook and Hawthorn Square.

Residents also may choose to replace their lead service lines on their own time frame through Naperville’s rebate program.

Water customers with at least a portion of their water service line that is lead, and who replace the entire length of their water service line, qualify for the program.

Rebates are either $2,550 or $4,250, depending on the side of the street the water main is located.

Details on the application process are available on the city’s website under “Water Quality.”

In 1936, Naperville required all water service lines to be “extra strong lead pipe.” Twelve years later the city allowed copper pipe in addition to lead.

The US EPA banned lead piping in construction in 1986, although existing lead pipes were allowed to remain. Water circulated by lead pipes is safe to consume unless something causes the pipe to be jarred, like construction, which can cause lead fragments to be released.

By 2014, lead was banned nationwide in solders and plumbing.

Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in behavior and learning problems, lower IQ and hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems and anemia, according to the US EPA.

Adults exposed to lead can suffer from cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure, kidney function and reproductive problems in men and women, the EPA warns.

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