Evanston responds to water report

Patrick Svitek, City Editor

The Evanston Utilities Department on Thursday reiterated that it has not detected lead in the city’s water, responding to a report that the toxic material is surfacing in some Chicago households.

Citing new federal research, a Chicago Tribune article published Wednesday said “dangerous levels” of lead are showing up in homes where pipes are made of it. The Environmental Protection Agency says exposure to lead can hurt the nervous system, increase blood pressure, decrease kidney function and cause reproductive issues.

The department said the finding “cannot be disputed” and has taken some steps to protect Evanston households, including adding a blended substance to the city’s drinking water to keep it from touching lead pipes as it travels through them.

“However, the simple solution is to follow the recommendation to flush water through the pipeline to remove any lead particulates that may have come loose during the construction,” the department said in a statement. “This is accomplished by opening all spigots in your home and letting the water flow for three to five minutes.”

The “vast majority” of Evanston pipes that carry drinking water into homes is built of lead, according to the department.

— Patrick Svitek