CHICAGO (CBS) — Lead pipes pumping water into hundreds of thousands of homes have been a major and ongoing health concern in Chicago.

On Tuesday, Chicago Department of Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner revealed that the city will announce plans in the coming weeks to replace those pipes at a cost of $8 billion to $10 billion.

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Previously, it was up to homeowners to pay for the pipes to be removed.

The city plans to ask Springfield and Washington to help.

“We’ve got to think creatively about that, and obviously we will be seeking help from the federal government or the state as best as we can to address this issue,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday during a media conference. 

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“Chicago’s drinking water is in compliance with all federal and state standards for safety and again, this program will be strictly voluntary for homeowners in the city,” the Department of Water Management said.

just last year, the city stopped installing new water meters because the process sometimes caused more lead to get into the water.

But without those meters, people get billed on guesstimates – not actual usage.

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For more than two years, the CBS 2 Investigators have been reporting on people getting hosed on their water bills because of that issue – including a Vietnam veteran who was charged $11,000 for a home he has never lived in, and a widow billed for more water than six families use.

CBS 2 Chicago Staff