[Photo provided by Peter Means/Virginia Tech College of Engineering]
Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania agreed with Roy, saying the pipes are the source of any contamination. He said the city is in the process of replacing the old lead pipes with copper pipes, and Cicero follows the water testing requirements set by the state of Illinois.
“We’re replacing them little by little, and all testing we see through the state process is within acceptable lead parameters,” he said. “The state has certain levels it considers to be safe, and if there was a problem, the state would’ve identified it and told us something.”
Bob Schiller, director of public works for the city of Berwyn, said the city’s water supply does not contain lead. The water is safe to drink, he said, and if residents are concerned, there are things they can do, like replacing old lead pipes or putting water filters on their faucets.
“The city has implemented some programs for residents who wish to change their service lines from lead to copper, which is the new standard and is safer,” he said. “Any lead that is detected in those homes is from service lines or fixtures, and the service lines are owned by the property owner. Those things are the sources of higher lead levels. You can go to any house and have a different reading depending on how much water is run through the house or faucet.”
Barajas said she wants transparency from both city governments, and she would like them to provide their residents with free water filters that remove lead.
“I don’t want anyone to manipulate the science. We want accountability,” she said. “We found that something is wrong. Our goal is to have safe drinking water in Cicero and Berwyn.”