There is no safe level of lead in drinking water. Zero.

That’s about as clear as a government agency can make it. And it is the long-term message of the Centers for Disease Control.

River Forest has heard the message and last week began to act on it with a new program that will pay the cost of removing lead water pipes from the village’s mains up to the property line of a building owner in town. And then the village will pay up to 50% (maximum $2,500) of the property owner’s cost of replacing the pipes from the property line into the home.

To start, the village has set aside $250,000 for the program. That would cover costs for just over 30 property owners out of some 3,200 water customers on the village’s books. The public works director says that if the initial funding is fully tapped the village will consider adding funding. And, says John Anderson, the public works director, this is the start of a long-term project.

With the state of Illinois now looking to mandate that every community have some plan in place to replace lead pipes, it is also possible there will be some stated funding provided going forward.

Good for River Forest for getting ahead on this critical issue. 

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