East Chicago Lead Crisis

Update: East Chicago Lead Contamination Drinking Water

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December 12, 2016

By: Nick Janzen, IPB News

EAST CHICAGO -The City of East Chicago, Indiana told residents the high lead levels recently measured in parts of the city’s drinking water are likely the result of efforts to clean up the lead in the soil there.

East Chicago Utilities Director Greg Crowley told residents that heavy machinery and soil excavation can knock loose lead in the city’s older service lines, but can’t release more details.

“They provided us some preliminary results, um, they wanted to validate their results, so we do not have final data,” said Crowley.

The Environmental Protection Agency tested 45 homes in parts of the USS Lead Superfund site. Eighteen homes did have elevated levels.

Crowley says testing conducted before the cleanup shows East Chicago as a whole is in compliance with safe drinking water standards.

About half a dozen residents spoke at the meeting. Gilda Orange asked city officials to be open and provide accurate information.

“Our concerns is when people leave here, we’re still here, I’m not going anywhere, I’m going to die in my house and, whether it’s by lead, by cancer, by whatever, because we traded jobs for pollution a long time ago,” Orange said.

Utilities Director Crowley says residents can install filters or flush their water to reduce lead risk. He says the city is looking into ways to help residents cover those costs.


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