City didn’t tell all homeowners that some metered homes showed high lead levels

Fran Spielman:

Chicago’s Department of Water Management has known since June that 17.2 percent of tested Chicago homes with water meters had elevated lead levels, but failed to notify owners of all 165,000 metered homes, continued to install meters and is only now offering those homeowners free, $60 filtration systems.

The testing, quietly done by City Hall, found that 51 of 296 tested homes with meters had elevated lead levels above the federal standard of 15 parts-per-billion of lead.

But, Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner and Health Commissioner Dr. Julie Morita refused to say precisely how elevated those levels were. They initially refused to provide any specific test results. The precise figures were provided after-the-fact by the mayor’s press office.

Looking more like deers in the headlights, the two department heads would only say that there was no need to panic.

“When you look at the data here and you see the progress that’s been made, we’re not looking at a public health crisis,” Morita said.