Elevated lead levels found in some East Moline homes’ drinking water

EAST MOLINE, Illinois -- Testing has found elevated levels of lead in drinking water in some East Moline homes and buildings, and officials say lead service lines are likely to blame.

The City of East Moline Water Filtration Plant recently conducted lead and copper testing throughout its distribution system, and found no evidence of lead in treatment equipment or water mains owned by the city.

However, old service lines, which are owned by the homeowner, may contain lead. Fixtures within the home may also contain lead, particularly in homes built before 1986.

"As water sits in the pipes of any kind of plumbing material, it can, as those pipes age, it can cause things to leak into the water, and that is essentially what is happening," said Brianna Huber, a chemist at the City of East Moline Water Filtration Plant.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency requires periodic testing throughout the city to monitor lead and copper levels. For the first time, more than 10 percent of sampled homes in East Moline tested above the 15 parts per billion (ppb) level. Roughly five homes, out of the 40-home sample, had elevated lead levels.

Officials at the East Moline Water Filtration Plant recommend several steps to reduce your exposure to lead in water:

  • Test your water for lead. Private laboratories can determine whether lead is present in your home's water.
  • Identify and replace plumbing fixtures containing lead. Plumbers can perform an inspection of your home's system.
  • Run your water to flush out lead -- If your water hasn't been used for several hours, run water from your cold water kitchen tap for at least three minutes.
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Lead dissolves more easily into hot water.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead.
  • Consider purchasing a water filter.

"Lead is always going to be a concern. Until we get rid of lead-based paint, until we get lead out of service lines, it's always going to be a concern," said Huber. "The only way to ensure that there's not lead in your water is to get rid of the lead."

Companies that perform lead testing include QC Analytical Services in LeClaire and QC Environmental in Davenport.

More information is available on the City of East Moline Water Filtration Plant's website, or by clicking here.