Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced new aid programs to help qualified homeowners replace lead water lines across Chicago.
The Equity Lead Service Line Replacement program offers low-income homeowners who live in their home, a household income less than 80 percent of median income, and constant lead concentrations greater than 15 ppb in their water, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.
“The water in Chicago is safe and fully complies with all federal, state and industry standards,” assured Lightfoot during the press conference on Thursday. “Today, however, we are talking about going even further to ensure the safety and health of our residents in the future.”
The city will cover the cost in full if a qualified homeowner opts for the program and will be paid for up to $ 15 million in block grant funding for community development through 2021.
“Lead Service Lines are an old problem that we need to fix right now, and that is done by responsibly moving in the right direction,” said Lightfoot. “I want to make it clear that if we take advantage of the extensive network of old lead service lines, it is a steep and costly mountain to climb.”
As part of the program, qualified homeowners receive a replacement for the utility line from the water pipe to the house and to the houses, and two apartments receive a water meter if one is not already installed. This emerges from the press release.
Also on Thursday, the city announced an additional program called the Homeowner-Initiated Lead Service Line Exchange Program, which waives the permit fees for homeowners to hire an outside contractor to perform the lead-and-tube swap.
The city also announced a pilot program, running in 2021, to investigate additional programs for those looking to replace aqueducts but fail to qualify for the two announced Thursdays.