Illinois City Plans for Extra Water Testing After High Lead Levels Discovered

Jan. 5, 2021

Extra water testing has been planned after high levels of lead were found in water at some Highland homes

Highland, Illinois will be conducting extra testing in the coming months after high levels of lead were found in the drinking water for several homes, according to the city’s website.

Mayor Joe Michaelis told the city council that testing showed some of Highland’s water is exceeding some action levels, reported the Belleville News-Democrat

According to Public Works director Joe Gillespie, the city was not found in violation, although some of the water tests have exceeded the recommended levels. 

According to the city, most homes were below 1 ppb while others were as high as 15 ppb.

“It was just a couple of houses out of 30 tested that had high numbers, which skewed the rest of the results,” said interim city manager Chris Conrad, reported the Belleville News-Democrat.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency requirements states that the residents collect the samples. 

The lead sampling is typically conducted every three years. 

There will be two more water samplings in the next year and twice the number of testing sites, according to the city. Once lead levels come down, Highland can go back to testing once every three years.

IEPA records reveal an average lead measure of 0.017 milligrams per liter in the 2020 sampling from Highland. In 2017 the measure was 0.0082 and in 2014 it was 0.0065. In all prior samplings going back to 2002, the measure usually ranged from 0.0018 to 0.0022, according to the Belleville News-Democrat.

“Obviously we’re continuing to work with IEPA to make sure we get the additional testing done to ensure there is not a systemwide problem,” Conrad added.

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