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General Press Releases

Posted on: July 15, 2016

Frequently Asked Questions About Lead In Drinking Water

Village of Westmont
Date Issued: July 15, 2016

Does the Village test the drinking water for lead? Yes. In accordance with IEPA rules, the Village began testing for lead with 60 samples sites located throughout the Village in 1992. Since measured lead levels fall below the 15 parts per billion (ppb) requirement, the required number of testing sites was reduced to 30. The Village continues to monitor 30 sites every 3 years as required by the EPA.

What are the results of the testing? During the most recent sampling period (2014), the sample from one of the 30 sites tested in the Village exceeded the 15 ppb threshold (~22 ppb). To meet IEPA regulations, no more than 10% of the samples can exceed 15 ppb. All of the other sites had levels below 5 ppb, which is the lowest level the test can detect for lead. Click on link below for the complete Water Quality Report.

Do I have a lead service line? The service line is the portion of pipe which extends from the connection at the water system into your home. Use this guide to help hone in on the type of material used in yours:
Homes built prior to 1930 most likely have a lead water service line (unless upgraded during a remodel).
Homes built between 1930 and 1960 may have a lead service line.
Homes built after 1960 are likely to have a copper service line.
Next, go to the water meter in your home and locate the portion of pipe which comes through the foundation or floor from the outside and connects to the meter. A lead service line is generally dull gray in color and very soft, whereas copper is dark orange.
A sure way to determine if the pipe coming into your home is made of lead is to carefully scratch it with a coin.
If it is lead, the scratched area will turn bright silver. Knives or other sharp instruments should NOT be used and care must be taken as to not puncture a hole in the pipe. Just a simple easy swipe is all that's needed.

Can the water in my house be tested? Having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you have lead in your water. However, it does indicate that you may be at greater risk from lead if corrosion of the pipe occurs. Since you cannot see, taste or smell lead dissolved in water, testing is a good way of telling whether or not lead is present. The cost for testing can range between $20 and $100 and specific steps are required in order to draw an accurate sample. Contact information for several of the labs near the area are provided below. The Village is ready to assist you at 630.434.5500 with any questions you may have.
Suburban Laboratories, Inc.
1950 S. Batavia Ave Ste 150
Geneva, IL 60134
(708) 544-3260
First Environmental Laboratories, Inc.
1600 Shore Road, Suite D
Naperville, IL 60563
Telephone: (630) 778-1200
TEM, Incorporated
443 Duane St.
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-4528
Telephone: (630) 790-0880

What can I do to reduce exposure to lead? Having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you have lead in your water. To reduce your risk from lead exposure, you can follow these guidelines:
Run your water for a few minutes to flush out lead after periods of non-use, such as first thing in the morning, after work or returning from vacation.
Always use cold water for drinking and cooking. Lead dissolves more easily in hot water and boiling water will not remove lead.
Use a National Sanitation Federation certified filter.
Periodically remove and clean your faucet aerators.
You may also want to consider replacing your lead service line. Please contact the Village to learn more about lead service line replacement.

Can I replace a lead service line? Yes. Residents wishing to replace a water service line should contact a licensed plumber to perform the work. Replacement of a water service requires a permit from the Village for the water connection and for work in the public right-of-way. The water connection permit includes a tap fee and an inspection fee totalling approximately $400 for a one-inch (1") service. When work is done in the parkway, a right-of-way permit must also be obtained. This permit requires the posting of a $1,000 refundable bond.

How much does it cost to replace a lead service line? The cost of replacing a water service line varies significantly depending upon the length of the service and disturbance to paved areas and landscaping. In most cases, it will cost a homeowner between $5,500 and ­$7,500 to install a new water service line from the house to the watermain.

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Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont Communications Director
630-417-0280, lmcintyre@westmont.il.gov

Water Quality Report
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