Lead Testing in Drinking Water
On August 23, 2017 the City of Highland Park, continuing with its commitment to provide safe drinking water, completed the annual testing of all water fountains accessible to the public. Though the drinking water supplied by the City of Highland Park Water Plant is lead-free, buildings may have elevated lead levels due to old plumbing or fixtures. While there had been no indication that lead was present in the water at any facility, public safety is paramount and annual testing is a critical precautionary measure. This action exceeds State water testing requirements.
City staff collected water samples from all City-owned buildings, which were taken to a certified laboratory and tested for lead. Testing is the best way for organizations to know if there are elevated levels of lead in the drinking water and to quickly eliminate any potential problems. The City’s water production and distribution system meets or exceeds state and national standards and falls within United States and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) levels for safe use and consumption. The USEPA action level for lead is 15 parts per billion at which point remedial action is recommended.
Out of the 168 samples collected, 13 samples had a lead action levels over 15 ppb. The fixtures have been shut down until they are replaced and tested to ensure they meet or exceed safety standards. The testing also revealed 13 additional fixtures that indicated lead concentrations between 6 ppb – 14 ppb. Though these results were within satisfactory standards according to the USEPA, the City also shut down both fountains as a proactive measure. The fixtures are being repaired and will not be available for use until they are remediated. The findings are isolated to specific water dispensing fixtures and are not systemic problems with the City’s water supply. Please see the list of sample results for 2017.
As of September 11, 2017:
Number of Samples Collected: 168 of 168
Number of Results Received: 168
Last year, the City of Highland Park began extensive water testing in order to ensure public safety and transparecy by testing for the presence of lead. Please see the list of sample results for 2016.
For more information on the lead testing initiative, see our lead testing FAQ.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) action level for lead is 15 parts per billion at which point remedial action is recommended. For those fixtures with unsatisfactory lead levels, City staff turned off and covered the affected water fixtures as soon as confirmation was received of lead presence in those fixtures. The City took immediate steps to secure the sites and is in the process of replacing the impacted plumbing and fixtures. The lead testing results are isolated to specific fixtures that were tested and are not reflective of the City’s water production or distribution system. The replaced water fixtures will be retested and won’t be turned back on until fully remediated.
For more detailed information, please see the link understanding the issues of lead in drinking water.
If you are concerned about lead exposure, you can have the water in your home tested for lead. The City of Highland Park Water Treatment Plant laboratory is not certified for metals analysis. Please see the link of accredited labs for lead testing for a list of laboratories that can test residential water samples.
Questions can be directed to the Water Plant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 847.433.4355.