There has been a lot of news lately about lead and water. The Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) wants you to know that Chicago water meets and exceeds all standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Illinois EPA and the drinking water industry. Chicago passed its most recent EPA review in October. Important things you need to know:

  • If you are concerned about your home’s water, call 311 and request a free lead test kit.
  • Flush water through your system every day- especially after water has been stagnant for six hours or more. You can do this by letting your water run for five minutes or through everyday activities like doing laundry, taking a shower or running the dishwasher.
  • The City will be giving free filter sets- a water pitcher and six cartridges NSF-certified to reduce lead if used correctly – to residents whose water has tested above the EPA’s benchmark level for lead in drinking water or who have gotten a water meter since 2001.
  • You will be notified by DWM if you qualify for a free filter set. You will receive either a letter or a phone call depending on how you have qualified for the free filter set.

In 2016, as part of DWM’s proactive approach to research, they launched the biggest study ever on water main and water meter installation and residential water quality. Preliminary results from the study show that water main construction does not cause a large increase in residential lead levels. For water meters, a small sample size indicates that meter installation may raise lead levels in drinking water in some homes, though to date, nearly 80 percent of homes did not have lead levels in drinking water above the EPA action level of 15 parts per billion following the meter installation. A leader in water research, DWM will share the study when it is published.

Visit chicagowaterquality.org for more information on the study and to request a free lead test kit. Here are some additional resources on water quality and DWM’s plans:

Also, please note the Chicago Department of Water Management (DWM) will never show up at your home without an appointment and appropriate identification. Please be aware that anyone contacting you and offering to test your water for free, is not from the City and may be trying to take advantage of you. Example of an outside solicitation: