Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Chicago Tribune. The village of Barrington is looking to replace outdated lead service water lines at more than 1,000 homes in the village and began the process with a public hearing on the plan
Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at the Chicago Tribune.
The village of Barrington is looking to replace outdated lead service water lines at more than 1,000 homes in the village and began the process with a public hearing on the plan at the June 28 village board meeting.
“We’re considering going after low interest rate federal loans administered by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to finance lead service line replacements,” Public Works Director Jeremie Lukowicz explained after the board meeting.
He said this part of the process of applying for the state funding was completing a project plan and hosting a public hearing in anticipation. Lukowicz estimates the project could cost in excess of $10 million.
“The village of Barrington does not have a lead in the water problem,” said Lukowicz, adding that the village’s supply water is treated with polyphosphates to help prevent lead from leaching into the water from the lead service lines. “We are doing this proactively, not reactively.”
Luckowicz said he anticipates the village will eventually be mandated at the state and federal levels to manage the replacements. With 4,700 homes in the village, he said about 1,000 homes have pre-1980 water service lines that either have lead service lines connecting the water main to the meter or a portion from a valve in the front yard to the meter.
“Like many communities, decades ago Barrington allowed the installation of lead service lines when its water systems were developed, and many still remain in our area,” said village spokeswoman Patty Dowd Schmitz. “Lead service lines are replaced in Barrington on an ongoing basis as a part of other water main projects, but the opportunity to apply for federal funding would allow the village to replace these service lines on a more comprehensive basis and on a larger scale.”
Both Luckowicz and Schmitz said the village is in compliance with all EPA regulations regarding acceptable levels of various contaminants in village water which can be viewed in water quality reports.
“It is important to stress that this is a proactive project solely based on this opportunity for funding,” Schmitz said. “It is not a reactive project – there are no public safety issues with lead in the Barrington water supply.”
Also at the meeting, Village President Karen Darch also recognized the recent dedication of the Joe Kelsch Sr. “Dreamway Trail” project, which won the Governor’s Hometown Award and the American Public Works Association Award.
The project includes a refurbished bike and pedestrian path alongside Flint Creek from Langendorf Park to Barrington High School. According to the village website, “more than 25 volunteers gave 1,250 hours of their time to support the project. It was also supported by a $516,000 Illinois Environmental Protection Agency grant.”
“It’s been a long time coming,” Darch said. “It was it great to have it finally ready.”
Elizabeth Owens-Schiele is a freelancer.