City installs four new water fountains around Evanston

Ryan Wangman, Summer Managing Editor

The city has installed four new water fountains around Evanston, continuing towards its goal of replacing seven fountains by the end of the summer after testing found lead levels exceeding the EPA action level.

Dave Stoneback, the city’s Public Works Agency director, told The Daily in an email that fountains had been installed at Garden, Larimer, Independence and Harper Parks. He said an additional fountain was almost fully replaced and installed at Clark Square Park.

The city is still working on replacing fountains at Robert Crown Park and Leider Park, Stoneback said.

Stoneback first announced the city’s plans to replace seven water fountains this summer at a City Council meeting in June. He estimated the cost to replace each fountain would be between $25,000 and $30,000.

“Drinking fountains have a unique situation where it’s sporadic use and very minimal use,” Stoneback told aldermen then. “The contact time of the water sitting in the pipes and next to these (lead-containing) components is longer, and apparently that allows lead to get into water.”

In June, Stoneback said that 13 of the city’s 59 water fountains would be shut off for the summer. Ten of the fountains were taken out of commission as a result of excessive lead content found after testing, and the other three were already due for replacement.

City staff is proposing the allocation of funding in the 2018 budget to continue to replace drinking fountains and drinking fountain parts to “lower lead levels at all fountains to non-detectable levels,” Stoneback said in the email.

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