About 5 months ago, I tested our apartment’s water for lead and then patiently waited for the results.
I definitely did not expect it to be a quick turnaround, but I was curious as to when I might hear back, so I called 311, Chicago’s information line. They let me know that I shouldn’t hear any official results from the Chicago Department of Water Management unless our lead levels were above the limit.
And I didn’t hear anything.
That is until Saturday when I saw a letter from the Department in our mailbox. Naturally, I freaked out since I was told I wouldn’t hear from them unless it was bad news. I quickly ripped open the envelope and pulled out a letter providing our lead results.
They ended up being under the U.S. EPA’s action level for lead, which is 15 μg/L or parts per billion.
Our first draw, done after our water had not been used for over 6 hours, was recorded at 3.3 μg/L. The second was taken 3 minutes afterward and recorded at 10.0 μg/L, and the third at 5 minutes recorded 5.0 μg/L.
I found the last two draws odd since what makes the most sense is for your initial draw to be the highest and your sequential draws be lower given that the water has been flushing through the pipes. No idea.
Besides that, the rest of the letter just explains where Chicago’s water comes from, that it doesn’t leave the water treatment plants with any detectable lead in it, the health effects of lead, common lead sources, and steps to reduce lead exposure.
While I was waiting for my results, I had reached out to my landlord to find out if he knew if our services lines had been replaced semi-recently. He knew the previous owner did a gut rehab of our building, but could not be for sure if our lines were replaced.
So we aren’t totally poisoning ourselves everytime we drink from the tap, but I am still slightly concerned. My next step now is to look into a filter specifically for lead using Environmental Working Group’s Tapwater Database.
Does anyone have any suggestions of water filters they have tried? Let me know!