“Chicago, the last big American city to require water pipes made of brain-damaging lead, is now the last one beginning to rip toxic pipes out of the ground.
Under plans shared Wednesday with the Chicago Tribune, the Department of Water Management envisions a long and costly effort to protect Chicagoans from a widespread public health threat that remained largely hidden for decades.
Initial work will be modest compared with the scope of the dangers. Next year the city estimates it will replace only 750 of the roughly 400,000 lead service lines connecting homes to street mains, according to slides prepared by the water department.
Yet the new program from Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s administration is the latest example of a shifting mindset at City Hall, where mayors and aldermen resisted changes to Chicago’s plumbing code until Congress outlawed lead water pipes in 1986.”