Coal City Discovers Certain Residences Possess Lead within their Home’s Water During Village’s Required Testing
The Village of Coal City provides water and sanitary sewer services for all of its community as well as water to the neighboring Village of Carbon Hill. In order to provide these municipal utilities, the Village has a licensed Water Utility Operator who ensures compliance with all required EPA standards. These standards check to ensure the water supply complies with all federal and state standards concerning the quality and make up of the water provided to each person’s home. Coal City continues to comply with all of its testing requirements on a monthly basis. In addition to the regular water quality tests, the Village is required to conduct a focused elevated lead level test within certain homes. This year’s lead testing revealed 5 occasions in which the lead levels exceeded the minimum threshold of 15 parts per billion (ppb) within the water sample; the 90% reading, exceeding this threshold was 16.1 ppb.
Since Coal City had these results, this information must be shared throughout the entire community. This test, which is required to take place every three years involved tests on two separate occasions from homes suspected of containing interior lead pipes and/or lead solder within their home. The majority of homes within Coal City were built after the utilization of these materials, but 20 homes volunteer to have samples provided in order to meet the requirements of this tri-annual test. The specific test results within each of the sample homes have been shared with these households. Everyone within the community shall receive a Public Education Letter within the December Utility Bill informing them of this information as well.
The presence of lead has been identified as something that can cause serious health problems. Thus, the EPA and the IEPA want to ensure any elevated lead results are provided to all utility customers. However, the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are deteriorating lead-based paint, lead-contaminated dust, and lead-contaminated residential soil. Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before 1978 are more likely to have lead within its pipes, fixtures, and solder.
Aside from the public information being distributed regarding these findings, the Village of Coal City shall enact a Corrosion Control Treatment Plan. The main component to be utilized within this plan is an EPA-recommended additive phosphate, which disallows older fixtures and the pipes through which the water supply travels to leachate into the water supply. This capability to carry out this task was included within the Village’s recent refurbishment of the Coal City Water Treatment Plant and has been enacted in compliance with EPA standards.
Due to the elevated levels of lead within a minority of those homes sampled, the Village of Coal City shall also complete additional follow-up monitoring. This includes additional tests at the sample homes and additional tests at the water treatment plant to ensure everyone is assured the water quality coming from the plant continues to pass EPA standards and does not possess any lead contamination.
The EPA provides a great deal of information regarding this topic on its website (below). If you are a resident of Coal City and would like a test of the water within your home, the Village can run the samples from your home to the water quality testing agency on a limited time basis. Please call Village Hall if you would like additional information; you will be charged $36 by the agency, but the test kits may be delivered with Coal City’s weekly test twice a week. The phone number at Village Hall is 815-634-8608 and coordinating with staff will provide the most reliable results. If you would like to utilize a different agency than the one utilized by Coal City, two other local vendors are Suburban (708)544-3260 and Arro Lab (815)727-5436. Notices will be sent in the upcoming December Utility Billing. This notice will contain the health risks associated with lead exposure and information regarding how one can avoid utilizing possible lead contaminated water such as running the water until it is cold prior to consuming or utilizing within the household.
Other Helpful Resources
Testing your Home’s Drinking Water – what you need to know
Federal EPA Elevated Lead within the Water Information