Galesburg to provide testing and filters for water; still says problem is not in city-owned lines

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GALESBURG, Illinois – Galesburg officials say they will take more measures to help residents with lead water service lines.

“This decision comes after routine testing in the fall of 2015 found lead levels in drinking water in some homes that exceeded the federal lead action level,” said a statement from the city issued Wednesday afternoon, April 27, 2016.

Records show the city’s water has repeatedly exceeded the federal lead-action level over the last 25 years.

After city officials were made aware of the testing results, some aldermen said lead water service lines were not the only potential source for elevated lead levels for residents; arguing that paint and other sources could also elevate lead levels inside and outside of homes.

City officials say the problem is not with the city’s delivery system, but with private lines and plumbing fixtures at individual homes and buildings.

“The City water does not have any lead in it at the source, in the treatment plant, in the mains, or anywhere else in the publicly-owned portion of the system,” the city’s statement said.  “However, privately-owned lead water service lines running from the main to individual buildings, as well as lead piping and fixtures within those buildings, may contain lead and the water can pick up lead when sitting in those pipes/fixtures for a length of time.”

The first step is to find out what type of service  line runs from the main to your property.

Related:  How Galesburg residents can find out what is in their water pipes

Federal regulators have urged Galesburg  to provide bottled water and filters for residents affected by the lead service lines, and to pay for additional testing for customers who request it.  More than 80 percent of the homes in Knox County were built before 1978, which increases the likelihood that the water service lines to those homes are made from lead.

Now, the city will provide free water testing for all Galesburg water customers with a lead service line, the April 27 statement said.  The city will also provide water filters to residents whose lead testing shows levels in excess of the EPA lead action level.

Notices were also sent to all water customers, notifying them of the potential for elevated lead levels and what the city is doing to reduce lead exposure.  That includes adjusting their corrosion control program and conducting additional water testing.




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