Lead Service Line Replacement
The Village of Lincolnwood understands the importance of clean and safe water for you and your family. This page is designed to provide you with easy-to-understand information about lead in water service lines, why it matters, and what you can do to keep your water safe.
A water service line connects the water main (usually under the street) to your home or business. Service line ownership is shared between the Village and property owners. The Village owns the portion from the water main to the Buffalo Box (the round metal box located in the parkway) or exterior water meter, and the property owner owns the portion from the B-Box or exterior water meter into the house.
Water Service Line Diagram
Water meter in the parkway
B-Box in the parkway and water meter inside the house
Lead is not present in Lincolnwood’s source water (Lake Michigan) nor in the water flowing through the distribution system. Lead, however, can enter your drinking water through corrosion of household plumbing materials if the building contains a lead service line or any plumbing fixtures that contain lead.
In 1988, the use of lead water service lines was banned completely by the federal government. In homes not served by a lead water service line, the most common source of lead in water is plumbing and plumbing fixtures with lead in them. Plumbing and plumbing fixtures could be sold as “lead-free” until 2014 but could contain up to 8% lead.
What is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring metal found in the earth’s crust and has been used by people for thousands of years. Due to lead being soft and malleable, it has been useful for a variety of different industries. You may find it in things like batteries, pipes and even in some types of paints.
Lead is harmful to human health and babies and young children are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead. While everyone can be affected by lead, children under 6 and pregnant women are most vulnerable.
For more information regarding lead and health, visit the CDC at www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/prevention/health-effects.htm
What is Lincolnwood doing to monitor and control lead?
The Village of Lincolnwood is required by the State of Illinois to routinely monitor for lead which has not, and is not, currently found within the drinking water supply. The Village receives treated drinking water from the City of Evanston. To prevent lead from dissolving into water from lead service lines or home plumbing, Evanston adds a very small amount of phosphate, a mineral found in many foods, to prevent lead from leaching into water, a process known as corrosion control. Although corrosion control can reduce the risk of exposure to lead, the best way to assure your home is safe from lead exposure through water is to remove the potential sources of lead.
Steps to Reduce Lead Exposure from Drinking Water
The best way to remove risks of lead in water is to completely replace all sources of lead. But there are also steps you can take immediately to reduce lead levels in your water. Take the steps below to reduce your exposure to lead in drinking water.
- Run the Tap Before Use – Lead levels are likely at their highest when water has been sitting in a lead pipe for several hours. Clear this water from your pipes by running the cold water for 3-5 minutes before using. This allows you to draw fresh water from the Village’s water main. In efforts to conserve water, you can use this water on house plants or to flush toilets.
- Clean Aerators – Aerators are small attachments at the tips of faucets which regulate the flow of water. Remove your aerators at least monthly and clean them out.
- Use Cold Water for Cooking and Drinking – Always cook and prepare baby formula with cold water as hot water dissolves lead more quickly, resulting in higher levels in water.
- Filter the Water – Many home water filters are effective at removing lead. If you purchase a filter, make sure it is certified to NSF/ANSI 53 and NSF/ANSI 42 for lead reduction and that you maintain it properly. Find out more on filter certification at www.nsf.org.
- Identify your plumbing fixtures that contain lead and replace them with lead free fixtures.
Testing Your Water for Lead
The Village of Lincolnwood performs regular testing for lead throughout the distribution system, as required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA). The results are posted within the Village’s Annual Water Quality report. You can review the Village of Lincolnwood’s 2022 Water Quality Reports at:
However, the Village does not offer testing at individual homes. If you want to test your water, test kits are available at hardware stores. The IEPA maintains a list of Certified Labs for Analysis of Lead in Drinking Water, which can be found at https://epa.illinois.gov/general-information/in-your-home/resources-on-lead.html.