Lead in Drinking Water
The Village of East Dundee’s drinking water fully complies with all federal and state standards for water quality as regulated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and the Safe Drinking Water Act, including compliance with the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR). Since the inception of the LCR in 1991, water utilities have been required to monitor for lead and copper in the water distribution system. The LCR requires water suppliers to deliver water that is minimally corrosive, thereby reducing the likelihood that lead and copper will be introduced into the drinking water from the corrosion of customer lead and copper plumbing materials.
Lead Pipes and Service Lines
A service line is the water pipe that delivers drinking water from the public (Village-owned and maintained) water main to the home or business. Service lines are generally owned by the property owner (from the home/business to the shut-off valve) and can be composed of lead if installed before 1986. This is approximately when the use of lead water pipes became banned by the Federal government. The use of lead solder for joining copper pipes was also banned.
At the June 26, 2023 Village Board meeting, the Board received an informative background and presentation regarding the steps needed to take per the State of Illinois. Click here to review the memo and presentation's slides. To view a recording of the meeting, click here. The lead service line discussion begins at the 39:30 mark in the video.
Help the Village Update Its Service Line Records!
As part of the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act (LSLRNA), the Village of East Dundee is required to document and maintain an inventory of all lead services in the community and is asking for assistance from homeowners and business owners. Property owners are asked to complete the following survey regarding their water service line. Surveys should be returned or emailed to the Village by August 31, 2023. Click here for a copy of the lead service line survey. Below you can review some frequently asked questions in order to help guide you in completing the survey.
Village Hall Address: 120 Barrington Avenue, East Dundee, IL 60118
Email Address: email@example.com
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers regarding Lead and Drinking Water
- 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.
- What are the risks of lead exposure?
Lead can cause a variety of adverse health effects when people are exposed to it. These effects may include increases in the blood pressure of some adults; delays in normal physical and mental development in babies and young children; and, deficits in the attention span, hearing, and learning abilities of children.
- What is the source of lead?
Lead is NOT present in East Dundee’s source water (groundwater), nor is lead present in East Dundee’s treated drinking water. Lead found in drinking water usually comes from the corrosion of older fixtures or from the solder that connects pipes. When water sits in leaded pipes for several hours, lead can leach into the water supply.
To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the IEPA has regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems. As a result, the Village of East Dundee regularly tests its water for lead, bacteria, and other regulated contaminants. The Village can report that no lead contaminant level violations were recorded during 2022.
Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. However, newer homes may also be at risk because legally “lead free” plumbing may have contained lead.
In January 2014, changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act further reduced the maximum allowable lead content of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fixtures and fittings. Brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder are the most common source from which lead can enter the water, especially hot water.
- What is corrosion and how is it controlled?
Corrosion is the dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and plumbing materials. The extent to which lead enters your water by this process depends on a number of factors. These factors include the water chemistry, the amount of lead the water comes in contact with, the length of time that the water sits in household plumbing materials and the presence of protective scales or coatings inside the plumbing materials.
The Village is required to use corrosion control treatment to prevent lead and copper from entering drinking water and add a blended Polyphosphate in the treatment process to coat pipes and prevent lead leaching.
- How do I know if I have lead in my water and/or lead in my plumbing?
If you are concerned your home plumbing may contain lead pipes, you may be able to determine on your own if your service line is made of lead. Service lines typically enter the home in the basement or crawl space. If the pipe is lead, it will have a dull finish that shines brightly when scratched with a key or coin. Using a magnet can also help you identify a lead pipe, because even a strong magnet will not cling to lead. You can also hire a licensed plumber or contact the public works department to inspect your service line and other materials in contact with your drinking water.
How to identify a lead water service line:
Step One: Locate the water service line coming into the building. This is typically found in the basement. An “inlet valve” and the water meter are installed on the pipe after the point of entry. Identify a test area on the pipe between the point where it comes into the building and the inlet valve. If the pipe is covered or wrapped, expose a small area of metal.
Step Two: Scratch the surface of the pipe. Use the flat edge of the screwdriver or other tool to scratch through any corrosion that may have built up on the outside of the pipe. Do Not use a knife or other sharp instrument and take care not to puncture a hole in the pipe.
Step Three: Compare your findings to the chart below. Each type of pipe will produce a different type of scratch, react to the magnet differently and produce a unique sound when tapped with a metal coin.
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.
- 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 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 as boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Periodically remove and clean the faucet screen/aerator. While removed, run the water to eliminate debris.
- You may consider investing in a home water treatment device or an alternative water source. When purchasing a water treatment device, make sure it is certified under NSF/ANSI 53 to remove lead.
- Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing brass faucets, fittings, and valves may leach lead into drinking water. Products sold after January 2014 must by law contain very low levels of lead.
- Have a licensed electrician check your home electrical system may be attached to your service line or elsewhere in your plumbing. If this connection is electrified, it can accelerate corrosion. Check with a licensed electrician to correct ground faults and evaluate your local electric code to determine if your wiring can be grounded elsewhere. DO NOT attempt to change the wiring yourself because improper bonding or grounding can cause electrical shock and fire hazards.
Homeowners and businesses with questions about any of the information provided above can contact the Village’s Public Works Department at (847) 426-2822, extension 8.
The following are additional resources for information on lead in drinking water:
Educational YouTube Video