Starting in May 2023, the City of Wheaton will begin a multi-year infrastructure project to replace all water service lines made from lead, helping to ensure the best possible drinking water for everyone in our community. Not only will the City be replacing any City-maintained water services that contain lead, but the City will extend this program to assist residents who have lead service lines on private property at no cost to these property owners.
It is not uncommon for homes – especially those built before the 1950s – to have lead water service lines, and this should not be a cause for concern. All water in Wheaton undergoes corrosion-control treatment to prevent lead from leaching into our drinking water, and the City tests our water to ensure it meets or exceeds all EPA requirements.
However, the best practice is to replace all services that contain lead with new copper services, and the state of Illinois is now requiring communities to create a plan to replace lead service lines. The City’s proactive plan will replace service lines ahead of the state’s requirements. Of the more than 16,500 water service lines, less than 7% are made from lead.
“Providing quality infrastructure for everyone in our community is among the City Council’s fundamental goals,” said City Manager Michael Dzugan. “By electing to take on the work and cost of replacing lead service lines on private property alongside our work on public property, the City is helping alleviate the burden that many homeowners would otherwise face on their own.”
The City’s Water Division will soon send notifications to property owners whose service lines the City has identified as containing lead. The notification will also inform property owners which year of the program service line replacement to their home is scheduled to take place. This information is also available through the City’s website at www.wheaton.il.us/LeadReplacement.
For those properties scheduled for service line replacement on private property in 2023, the notification will also contain an opt-in/opt-out form that must be completed and returned to the City. For those who opt-in to have the City replace the private service line, a Participation Agreement will also need to be signed and returned to the City.
Before work begins, Water Division employees will schedule a site visit, and these residents will receive a notice of the scheduled date for replacement. Work will be completed by either the City’s Water Division or a City contractor, using a trenchless replacement method that will place a new service with the least disruption possible. The City will provide future communications throughout the process to affected property owners.
Replacements of service lines including private property will be completed in the first five years of the program, and all lead-containing services are anticipated to be replaced in the next 8 years.
To read more about this program and find information about your property’s service line materials, please visit the City’s website at www.wheaton.il.us/LeadReplacement.