Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Garfield Ridge Civic May Call for Mayor Lightfoot to Audit City Water Department

Dissatisfied with ‘lead in drinking water’ explanation

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Southwest Chicago Post

Members of the Garfield Ridge Civic League are expected to vote on a resolution calling upon Mayor Lori Lightfoot to investigate the city Water Department.

The vote may be taken at the GRCL’s next meeting, set for 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 19 in the community room at TCF Bank, Archer and Austin. All Garfield Ridge residents are invited.

The resolution was drafted after the group’s April meeting, where two Chicago Department of Water Management engineers spoke about elevated levels of lead in drinking water.

In the question and answer period that followed their presentation, GRCL President Henry Pukala said their explanation of how DWM actions appear to have caused elevated levels of lead water in thousands of Chicago homes, is nonsense.

“To me, that’s a bunch of hooey,” Pukala said, adding that the GRCL will contact local elected officials to demand more and better action to address what some call an environmental health scandal.

The GRCL may also reach out to other civic groups across the Southwest Side and rally them to action.

Citywide, more than 130,000 homes have voluntarily participated in the Department of Water Management’s MeterSave program since it was launched in 2009. Central to the program is installation of “smart meters” said to save homeowners money.

In recent months, the DWM’s own data has shown that as much as 20 percent of homes with smart meters have elevated levels of lead in their drinking water.

An investigation launched in 2016 appears to indicate that smart meter installation disrupts the protective orthophosphate coating in water pipes, meaning that lead seeps into drinking water. Just about every single-family home in Chicago built before 1986 has lead pipes running from the water main at the street to the home itself.

Lead is a heavy metal that is toxic. It accumulates in the body and causes brain damage and neurological disorders, especially in children. Federal health authorities have long stated that no level of lead is safe.

For more details, call or text Pukala at (773) 562-0071.

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