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Illinois EPA Announces $4 Million in Funding to the City of Chicago to Replace Lead Service Lines

SPRINGFIELD - Illinois EPA Director John J. Kim today announced $4 million in funding to the City of Chicago (Cook County) to replace lead service lines. The funding is provided through a low-interest loan from the Illinois EPA's State Revolving Fund, which provides funding for drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater projects. The City of Chicago will receive 100 percent principal forgiveness for this loan.

The City of Chicago (City) will utilize this funding to replace lead service lines at day cares throughout the City. Both public and private components of the service lines containing lead will be replaced. Chicago has approximately 400,000 lead service lines within its water distribution system and is implementing the Lead-Safe Chicago program to eliminate these lines.

"While all lead service line projects are important, this project is unique and serves to protect some of our youngest and most vulnerable residents by prioritizing lead service line replacement at day care facilities," said Director Kim. "As our largest city, Chicago has a majority of the lead service lines in the State. Illinois EPA remains committed to working with the Chicago Department of Water Management as they address lead service lines throughout the City."

Service lines are small pipes that carry drinking water from water mains into homes. Many older homes still have lead service lines. Household plumbing fixtures and faucets made prior to 1986 may also contain lead. Lead is a toxic metal that can accumulate in the body over time that can enter drinking water when corrosion of pipes and/or fixtures occurs. Eliminating lead service lines in homes will help to reduce lead exposure for residents.

The Illinois EPA provides Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Principal Forgiveness for projects directly related to activities that reduce or eliminate lead from potable water. Illinois EPA has made more than $107 million in funding available in the form of principal forgiveness to complete LSLR activity in fiscal years 2021 - 2023, until the allotted funds are expended. As of June 30, 2022, over $55 million of the funds have been committed to LSLR projects in Illinois, with several additional projects in the pipeline. LSLR principal forgiveness is available up to a maximum amount of $4 million per fiscal year for 2022 and 2023 for any one loan recipient.