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The state of Illinois is about to get 288 million lead-pipe replacements and other programs that deal with the state’s water supply. After passing a federal infrastructure law, the cash will force Chicago and other cities to be accountable and keep their promises to find a solution for the major health threat.
In Illinois, Chicago has the highest number of lead service lines for drinking water for any U.S city with nearly 400,000 citizens. City officials were supposed to deal with this a long time ago, critics say, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot criticized former Mayor Rahm Emmanuel for not replacing the lines last year.
Lightfoot’s administration has only overseen several lead-line conversations after the promise of hundreds to be completed.
Chicago does not know the amount of money it will get with the federal windfall, which is the first annual allotment it has seen in a few years.
It will cost billions of dollars and the money they have now will not be enough to solve the problem asap, especially since there are so many homes in need of replacements. But, over the next several years the city is expecting hundreds of millions to flow into the state.
Erik Olson, a senior strategist at the Natural Resources Defense Council for Washington, gave his thoughts about the Chicago pipeline improvement plan. ” This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a problem that has been plaguing Chicago for decades. Now that there’s money, there really isn’t an excuse not to do this.”
The NRDC has reminded cities to realize the dangers of lead pipes for the citizens and why replacing them by any means possible should be on their to-do list.
Written By Daylontie Jasper
Edited by Sheena Robertson
Chicago Sun-Times: Hundreds of millions to remove lead pipes flowing into Illinois as city replaced just a fraction of total this year; by Brett Chase
Feature and Top Image Courtesy of Theen Moy’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Prachatai’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License