Lead test kits and filters flying off the shelves at stores in Galesburg

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Lead test kits and filters are flying off the shelves in Galesburg these days.

"Most people just want to know, do I have lead?" said Steve Hawkinson, owner of People's Do-It Center, 465 E. Berrien Street, Galesburg.

The store is selling dozens of filters to reduce lead content in water.

It even temporarily sold out of $10 test kits.

More kits will be available there on Friday morning.

"The demand for filters like that are one or two a month," he continued.  "Now, it might be one or two an hour."

His store sells a variety of filter options, ranging in price from $24-30.

Filters endorsed by the National Sanitary Foundation are most effective.

"It's really important when you're picking and choosing a brand, that you're not just looking at the brand," said Sam Jarvis, director of health protection for the Knox County Health Department.  "Look at the fact that it's NSF rated."

The Galesburg problem originates with some 4,700 lead service lines that connect to homes and buildings.

Most of the time, it will cost homeowners $2,000-3,000 to replace the pipe.

"Eventually, we always like to see that happen," Jarvis continued.  "But until then, these filters work really well."

Placing the filter with the kitchen sink can be most effective.

"We're trying to listen to what they need and have what they want," Hawkinson concluded.

Galesburg will be evaluating a new set of water samples in early May.

The city is fully complying with the EPA and faces no violations.

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