Get the Lead Out! Chicago Accused of Failing to Warn Residents About Lead Pipes

Lead PipesA lawsuit filed in the Cook County Circuit Court alleges the city of Chicago is not effectively warning residents how, after repairs to the street, lead can seep into tap water. The suit also claims that the city of Chicago should replace thousands of lead pipes.

Detailing allegations from three plaintiffs, the lawsuit quotes a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study which found high lead levels in the drinking water of homes after service lines were disrupted by construction work. The lawsuit finishes by claiming that irreversible damage has been caused by the presence of lead pipes and has interfered with private property.

The suit was filed after all the recent attention given to the issues facing the public water system in Flint, Michigan, where residents have been exposed to high levels of lead from a failure in the maintenance of the public sewer system. This lawsuit brings further light to a potentially serious problem right here in Chicago.

Many cities switched to pipes constructed of other metals earlier than the city of Chicago, which used lead water lines until 1986 when they were banned nationally. The city’s Department of Water Management claims almost 80% of properties in the city have at least one lead service line. To protect the coating in the pipes, chemicals are added to the water supply to fight corrosion. But, research has found that lead can seep from the lines if there have been plumbing repairs, street work, or changes in the water chemistry because that can disrupt the treatment.

Chicago has more lead service lines than any other city in the U.S., and Federal rules require that every three years fifty homes are to be tested for lead levels. These federal rules also require that only the first liter of water in the morning be tested. Although the first liter is often lead free, depending on the distance of the service line between the street and the home, high lead levels can flow through the tap later, according to an EPA study.

The Department of Water Management, however, says that the water in Chicago exceeds standards (state, federal and industry) and is safe.

If you find yourself in need of an attorney to represent your rights, the team at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has been helping people for over 25 years.  Let us review your case today for free and see how we can help you. Call us at (800) 996-4824