- Associated Press - Monday, February 6, 2017

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) - Federal officials say all East Chicago residents should assume they have lead water lines and use a properly certified filter.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist Miguel Del Toral repeated the recommendation Friday after initially making it last month while responding to questions from residents at an open house for the USS Lead Superfund site in the city’s Calumet neighborhood.

Officials say it’s possible up to 90 percent of homes in East Chicago have lead water lines.

The EPA tested drinking water at more than 40 homes at the site, The (Northwest Indiana) Times (https://bit.ly/2kdIur2 ) reported. The agency found nearly 20 of the homes had lead levels above the action level of 15 parts per billion.

EPA officials said the agency views the sampling to represent the entire water system. No further testing is planned.

Lead poses a health risk, particularly for pregnant women and young children. Even at low levels, it can cause learning problems and irreversible behavior.

East Chicago has about 29,000 residents, including about 4,000 who lived in the two census tracts encompassed by the Superfund site in 2010. More than half of the 1,000 people living in the West Calumet Housing Complex have moved since the city issued a relocation order last summer.

Residents should be asking the officials they pay for water service about actions they’re taking, said Mark Templeton, an attorney at Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School.

“The laws are on the books to protect people’s health today, and if there are legacy issues, then those legacy issues need to be dealt with now to protect public health and the environment,” said Templeton, one of several attorneys working pro bono on behalf of residents. “There are also choices people are making today regarding corrosion control for the entire system.”


Information from: The Times, https://www.nwitimes.com



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