Galesburg aldermen argue that water isn’t to blame for lead problem

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GALESBURG, Illinois - Galesburg aldermen know there's a problem to fix, but they don't all agree on what that problem is.

"We know that one, it is a fact that it is agreed upon by everybody that there's no proven causation link between the blood levels of children in Knox county and the elevated lead levels in Galesburg water, as it is in the home," said alderman Jeremy Karlin.

Some alderman say Galeburg's scare with high lead levels in children has more to do with the homes, than the water inside them.

Last month the city found lead levels in drinking water in some homes that exceeded the federal lead action level.

Some people attribute the problem to older homes. More than 80 percent of the homes in Knox County were built before 1978 so more than likely their service line to their home is made out lead.

However, some council members say fixing the service line isn't solving the real problem.

"It's their home environment they need to be concerned about, you know, is that lead paint falling off the wall in your place? Are you keeping your home clean enough? You know, is there lead contamination outside of the home," said Mayor John Pritchard.

Fixing the problem is costly.

"I think we need to be looking at ways that we can actually work with these families, engage the community to help get lead in some of these old houses," said alderwoman, Corine Andersen.

There were several ideas thrown out at the work session. One idea is replacing lead service lines in homes at a reduced or no cost. Also the council asked administration to look at programs or grants that would help get the lead out of homes.

The city council will explore all options before taking any action.