The City of Elgin provides fresh, clean water to residential and business locations throughout Elgin. Consumers enjoy water that is safe for drinking, cooking and bathing on a daily basis. In fact, the water supplied by the City meets all Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) standards, including those for lead.The City of Elgin is dedicated to providing water that is clean and safe for you to use. If you have any questions at all please call 311 (847-931-6001 if outside Elgin), and staff can provide you with the assistance and information you need.
What is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring mineral found in small amounts of the earth's crust. When consumed in high levels, it can be toxic to humans and animals.
Lead and Drinking Water
Lead is NOT present in Elgin’s source water (wells and river water), nor is Lead in Elgin’s treated drinking water. However, if buildings have water service lines made of lead, lead can enter the drinking water through the corrosion of plumbing materials.
Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. However, newer homes may also be at risk because legally "lead free" plumbing may contain up to 8% lead.
In January 2014, changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act further reduced the maximum allowable lead contents of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fixtures and fittings to 0.25%. Brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder are the most common source from which lead can enter the water, especially in hot water.
What You Should Know about Lead and Drinking Water
The City of Elgin is required to notify customers (residents and businesses) whenever water mains, water meters or water service lines are replaced or repaired. This is because of the possibility that the work being performed could result in the disturbance of sediment, possibly containing lead that could get into the water.
The notification is for informational purposes only. While it is not known for certain whether or not replacement or repair will adversely affect the lead (if present) in plumbing in and outside of your home, flushing your water lines is a recommended preventative measure to potentially reduce the amount of lead in your water.
It is advised that you flush your water lines 3-5 minutes once the work is completed. This includes removing and cleaning the faucet aerator screens.
Steps to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water
Despite our best efforts mentioned earlier to control water corrosivity and remove lead from the water supply, lead can still be present in some homes or buildings. Advice for lead safe water practices include:
- Before using any tap water for drinking or cooking, flush your water systems by running the kitchen tap (or any other tap you take drinking or cooking water from) on COLD for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove and clean faucet aerators regularly to eliminate any debris such as metal particulates.
- Purchase or lease a home water treatment device. Various types of water treatment devices are certified for household use and can remove a broad range of contaminants from water – including lead. Any type of water treatment device that you choose should meet National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) standards.
- Test water in houses with older plumbing. The City of Elgin does not provide laboratory testing for lead, information on laboratory testing can be found here.
Learn About Lead
- Information about the risks associated with lead in drinking water is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website.
- Lead Fact Sheets as well as Lead Issues and Resources are available on the American Water Works Association website.
- 3Ts for Reducing Lead in Drinking School Water resource provided by the EPA.