Community, Environmental, Local, Park Forest

Village Begins Search for Lead Service Lines

red fire hydrant spyaying water
Park Forest will be conducting an inspection to identify lead water service lines. (VOPF image)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- In compliance with state law, the Village of Park Forest is conducting a door-to-door inspection of all water service lines entering homes. The goal is to quantify how many lead service lines exist and develop a plan to replace them.

Lead has been identified as a toxic metal that is harmful even at low levels. Illinois is one of the first states to require the total replacement of lead water pipes.

Black circle with letter A superimposed adjacent to word AmeriCorps
AmeriCorps NCCC team members will be conducting the service line inspections in Park Forest. (Photo VOPF)

The village is working with AmeriCorps NCCC to conduct the inspection. During the months of July and August, NCCC team members will be visiting residences in the village to inspect and document types of service lines. They will inspect the water meter inside the home to determine the pipe material entering and leaving the meter and photograph the pipes.

According to Nicholas Christie, Park Forest Assistant Director of Public Works/Village Engineer, most homes in the village have copper piping. Instances of lead pipes are very rare. If lead pipes are found, Christie says that the village is responsible for replacing any lead water services that run from the main water line into the home.

If lead pipes are found within a resident’s home (on the resident’s side of the meter) it would be up to homeowner to care for those pipes, although Christie noted that almost all pipes inside Park Forest homes are copper or galvanized pipes which do not pose a hazard. Currently, the law requiring pipe replacement only addresses the service lines entering the home.

Initial survey results must be reported to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) by April 2023, with final results due the following year. By law, the village must develop a plan to address lead pipes by 2027, with the actual work completed over a twenty-year period based on the number of service lines in the community.

Christie notes that, to date, no lead service lines have been identified. He expects that if lead lines are identified, they will be replaced on a much quicker timeline. Homeowners will be notified by next April if lead pipes are identified and replacement options will be discussed at that time.

The NCCC team will start their inspections in the Lincolnwood neighborhood and then travel to other parts of the village. Rather than wait for the team to visit their neighborhood, residents can schedule an appointment for the inspection on the village website or contact the Department of Public Works at 708-503-7702. The inspection should take approximately 15 minutes.

Reporter’s note: I requested an inspection of my home online. Two NCCC team members came, fully masked, at the requested time, introduced themselves, showed their identification, and completed their inspection in less than five minutes. They let me know that the pipes in my house were all copper.

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