CHICAGO (CBS) — A vast network of lead pipes has left many residents, Chicagoans in particular, drinking dangerous, lead-laced water.
The CBS 2 Investigators have been uncovering the problem as part of our “Getting Hosed” series on bad water bills.
Federal money is on the way, but CBS 2 investigator Megan Hickey is digging into how Illinois might be getting shortchanged.
Chicago has the most lead service pipes of any city in the country — which means this freshwater isn’t always “fresh” by the time it gets to your house.
The Metropolitan Planning Council says Illinois isn’t getting its fair share of federal funds to fix it.
“That’s the water intake crib and that’s also a water intake crib.”
Justin Williams with the Metropolitan Planning Council explained that Illinois is set to receive $565 million out of the $15 billion worth of federal funding allocated to lead service line replacement.
But based on the percentage of the lead pipes in the nation, Illinois’ share should be more like $1.8 billion.
Twelve other states; including Ohio, Michigan & New York are also getting short-changed according to the group’s estimates. While states like California and Texas are actually getting significantly more than they need to replace the pipes.
He says that’s because the U.S. EPA is going by old data.
In 2022, the federal government is updating the formula by which they determine each state’s allotment to include lead pipe replacement costs.
And he says that survey can’t come soon enough.
“It’s just critical that happens as soon as possible in 2022 so as future lead service line replacement line funding goes out it really being apportioned according to need,” Williams said.
We reached out to the U.S. EPA for a timeline of when to expect that updated survey. No word yet but we’ll keep following up.
Williams said that in Chicago it’s also a racial equity issue. They’ve studied the communities with the most lead pipes and found that Black and Latin-X individuals are twice as likely as white individuals to be living in these communities.
Source : https://www.cbsnews.com/chicago/news/illinois-to-receive-less-than-required-federal-funds-towards-lead-service-line-replacement/