When you drink your water from the tap, you are relying on local and federal drinking water testing procedures and regulations to keep you safe. Drinking water with contaminations higher than the recommended levels can cause illness or severe health issues. Water Quality Standards is the foundation of the water quality-based pollution control program mandated by the Clean Water Act. With regular testing and following recommended standards, municipalities can provide safe drinking water for their residents, or so they thought.
According to a recent article from CBA Chicago, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection completed a study which concluded that the testing methods it requires water utilities to use nationwide systematically misses high lead levels. In Chicago, people are now questioning the safety and quality of the tap water based on these findings. Lead in drinking water is a huge concern, particularly in children where it can cause serious impairments. “Lead impacts brain development, cognitive development and behavioral development,” says Dr. Helen Binns, a doctor at Lurie Children’s Hospital. “There is no safe level of lead identified for anyone.”
Lead in drinking water primarily enters homes built before 1986 through lead service lines and pipes or fixtures with lead solder. The U.S. EPA requires water utilities to test the drinking water in a small sampling of homes every three years. But now, EPA scientists have found that the test they have required cities to use for the last two decades underestimates the amount of lead in drinking water. These federal testing procedures seem to be unreliable, putting homes without drinking water filters at a risk of contamination. It has been known for a while, but steps are just now being put in place to remove the risk of lead in drinking water.