CHICAGO (CBS)– Mayor Lori Lightfoot is pausing certain water meter installations after elevated lead levels were found in a new round of testing.
The mayor made the announcement Tuesday morning. Lightfoot stressed that overall, Chicago water is safe and meeting or exceeding EPA standards.READ MORE: Bears Vs. Cardinals: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
But, the city is pausing the installations of water meters in homes with lead service lines.
Recent tests found lead levels rose in 22% of homes with new meters.
“I made this decision after being informed of new data in 2019 which showed lead levels rose higher than is allowed by federal standards after water meter installation in certain houses,” Lightfoot said. “If you live in a home where a water meter was installed, we suggest you to take advantage of the free filter and have your water tested.”
Lightfoot said this is especially important for homes with young children and women who are pregnant.
The mayor urges all residents with meters to register for a free water filter set, certified to remove lead.READ MORE: Minnie Miñoso, The 'Cuban Comet' Finally Gets Into The Baseball Hall Of Fame
“As a 1905 house, it’s always going to be a fixer-upper,” Melissa Mitchell. “Greater Grand Crossing resident, said. there’s no time where you can just sit down and say, ‘okay everything’s perfect.'”
Imperfections included old plumbing and a sky-high water bill of more than $1,000 a year.
With the water meter installed, Mitchell said her water bill went down.
Even though Lightfoot said the water is safe to drink, Mitchell tested her water right out of the faucet Tuesday afternoon. The test revealed, very high led levels.
Still, Mitchell believes the problem is bigger than new water meters.
“Some places in the city have hundred year-old pipes,” she said.MORE NEWS: Uber Eats Driver Recovering After Being Shot In The Face In The Back Of The Yards Neighborhood
You can call 3-1-1 to register for the filters and have your water tested at no charge.