Lead in Chicago Potable Water Supply, Death by a thousand cuts

As a City of Chicago Department of Water Management (DOWM) employee, I am concerned about the lack of movement towards removing Lead from the Potable Drinking Water Supply (PDWS) in Chicago. Not long ago, I made a FOIA request to investigate the private contractors entering and leaving the Jardine Water Purification Plant (JWPP) on Chicago’s downtown lakefront. The City fought my FOIA, so I asked Attorneys Loevy and Loevy to assist me in the fight. Matthew Topic of Loevy and Loevy did his best, but a Judge bought the City’s argument; if they disclose their contractors in and out of JWPP, Chicago’s PDWS would be in peril.  If you know how Judges are picked in Chicago, the ruling was not a surprise. A second look will happen now that Donald J. Trump is in office.

Chicago needs to do something regarding Lead in the PDWS. During the FOIA process regarding this contentious issue, the DOWM represented that they are responsible for the safety of all PDWS in Chicago, from when it is processed at JWPP until it exits the taps (Supply to all final users). Since that is the case, the taxpayers of Chicago stand to lose billions in Lead related PDWS lawsuits. I assure you, the Chicago Inspector General has done nothing to protect the PDWS of poor Blacks and Hispanics. Sad to say, but each and every day millions are drinking Water tainted with toxins. Many other municipalities are making headway to replace the Lead Water Services, i.e. Flint, MI. Remember; the coating inside lead piping only works if the Water Service is not disturbed. The current lawsuits state: when a new Chicago Water Main is replaced, a substantial amount of Lead is introduced into the Water Supply. What the lawsuit doesn’t know is that when the Lead Water Services are disturbed in any manner, the Lead is released and absorbed for children to drink in schools, i.e. Jose De Diego Academy, Chicago. When a Water Main break happens, the protective coating is disturbed, once when the Water Main is shut down and again when the Water Main is returned to service. When the piping is jolted severely, the coating is released into the Water Supply. People wonder after a Water Main repair is made, why the aerators in their home faucets are blocked. Now you know. After the DOWM works on a fire hydrant, shuts down a Water Main, makes any type of repair to the PDWS, the lead is again absorbed into the Water. Immediate Lead testing is needed each and every time an adjustment is made to the PDWS system. Not long ago, Alderman Tunney had a belt buckle and caution tape in his building’s Water Supply. That was covered up. When a private contractor turned a new Chicago Water Main on, all the contents were released including; condoms, dirt, oil, grease, sand and debris of every type. Incompetence!

Chicago’s Potable Drinking Water Supply is in danger. So, when you see any Chicago Department of Water Management trucks working on the Domestic Water Distribution System (DWDS), make sure you have your Water Supply tested. You will live longer. Demand that Mayor Rahm Emanuel hires more Certified Plumbing Inspectors, provides more Water sample testing, and make sure the DWDS is safe for all of Chicago. See you at final contamination.