CHICAGO (CBS) — The city of Chicago insists the drinking water is safe.
But a group of neighbors is raising concerns.
CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross reports on the water dispute from Albany Park.
Organizers are collecting names for a petition and launching a campaign to better understand the issue and trying to help those most at risk.
Dozens attended a meeting focused on the dangers of lead in Chicago’s water. The city said its lines are safe, but questions remain about the lead service lines connecting homes to those city pipes.
“Our position is to mount a pressure campaign of the people,” said John Beacham of Answer Coalition of Chicago. He said the organization has asked the mayor’s office for documentation on the state of Chicago’s water.
Past concerns about lead have sprung up in some CPS schools and public park fountains. But the campaign “Lead Out Now” is focused on Chicago’s homes.
Back in 2016, CBS 2 Investigators reported Chicago had as many as 300,000 homes with lead service lines. The cost of replacing all those lines estimated as much as 4.5 billion dollars. Beacham believed the totals could be even higher.
“I understand that people have been throwing big numbers out and saying how are you gonna do this but we’re talking about children,” he said.
The heath impacts can include developmental delays and learning difficulties for children. The homes most at risk are those built before 1986.
“If we’re going to build stadiums and entice other corporate headquarters to come here, if we’re going to build a cop academy we’ve got enough money to provide safe drinking water for children,” said Beacham.
The city of Chicago issued a statement that said “we have never been shy about addressing, discussing and acting on this important issue. And we have no doubt it will be a topic of discussion when the water commissioner is before the city council at his budget hearing.”
That hearing set to take place a few weeks from now.