The City of Naperville has recently identified some 341 Naperville homes with lead water service lines. The City has yet to test 143 other homes that likewise may have lead service lines. Homes with lead service lines in Naperville would typically have been built before 1930-when the City outlawed lead in the service lines of newly-constructed homes. It is possible that some homes built after 1930, but before 1986, also have lead service lines, because, in 1986, lead in service lines was outlawed nationally. 1
If your Naperville home is identified as one having a lead service line, here’s what you need to know:
(1) Any concentration of lead in drinking water is dangerous, especially to children and pregnant women. The World Health Organization says that there is no safe level of lead. 2 At high levels of exposure, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system, potentially causing coma, convulsions, and possibly even death. Children who survive this level of lead poisoning may be left with mental retardation and behavioral disorders. At lower levels of exposure, lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced IQ, reduced attention span, increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational achievement. Lead exposure also causes anemia, hypertension, cardiovascular effects, nerve disorders, decreased kidney function, fertility problems, immunotoxicity, and toxicity to the reproductive organs. 3
(2) Because lead in your family’s water is dangerous, you should get your water tested. Call the Department of Public Utilities at (630) 420-6128 for guidance as to how this can be done or click here for a list of certified water testing laboratories on Naperville’s water quality page. 4
(3) You should replace your lead service line with a service line constructed of acceptable, non-lead materials. Licensed plumbers can help you determine what is appropriate for your home, and the cost.
(4) You may ask: since there is no law requiring that I get a new, expensive, non-lead service line, why should I do it? Two reasons, at least:
·Because it will protect the people living in your house against potentially dangerous concentrations of lead in the water they consume. There is no good reason to risk your family’s health.
·Because, when you try to sell your house, you will pay the price for not having installed a safe, non-lead service line. This is because you will have to tell potential buyers of your home of the lead service line. You may be aware of the Illinois Residential Real Property Disclosure Report, which must be filled out by sellers of Illinois homes. The Report provides basically a checklist of potentially dangerous conditions in your home which must be disclosed to potential buyers. Two of the items which must be disclosed are: “unsafe conditions in the drinking water” of the home (see item #10) and “lead water pipes” (item #16).
So, your family’s health, and common sense, both get you to the same conclusion: “get the lead” out….of your water service line.