Lead Water Service Line Information

Important Information About Your Drinking Water from the Village of Flossmoor

Under Illinois State Law, the Village is required to notify residents whose homes may be affected by water system work. The purpose of this notice is to inform you that the Village is planning to complete work or has completed work on the drinking water distribution system in your neighborhood, which can disrupt the lining in water service pipes, potentially causing contaminants (including lead) to leach into your water.

What are the sources of lead in drinking water?

The water delivered to your home does not contain lead. Lead found in tap water usually comes from lead-based pipes, fixtures composed of an unsafe percentage of lead, or from leaded solder used to connect water pipes.

Lead Service Line

Learn more about some of the common sources of lead in drinking water. Esta información en español.

Not all homes have lead service lines. Most homes built after 1960 have copper lines. If you have a copper service line, you are not at risk of having lead leach into your water from water distribution work, but you should still be aware that some household plumbing fixtures contain lead.

Having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you’ll have lead in your water. It does however indicate that you may be at greater risk if your lead service line is disturbed. A way to determine if the pipe coming into your home is made of lead is to carefully scratch it with a coin. If it is a lead pipe, the scratched area will turn bright silver. A licensed plumber can also help you determine if you have a lead water service line.

Lead, a metal found in natural deposits, is harmful to human health, especially young children. The most common exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips and dust. However, lead in drinking water can also be a source of lead exposure. In the past, lead was used in some water service lines and household plumbing materials. Lead in water usually occurs through corrosion of plumbing products containing lead; however, disruption of lead service lines may temporarily increase lead levels in the water supply. As of June 19, 1986, new or replaced water service lines in new household plumbing materials could not contain more than 8% lead. Lead content was further reduced on January 4, 2014, when plumbing materials must now be certified as “lead free”.

How can I protect myself?

Village water system maintenance and/or construction projects that may affect the lead content of your drinking water supply may adversely affect the lead (if present) in your plumbing. Here are preventive steps to help reduce your risk from lead:

If you know that you do not have lead pipes, fixtures or solder:

  • Running your water for 1 to 2 minutes at the kitchen tap should clear the lead from your household plumbing. Once you have done this, fill a container with water and store it in the refrigerator for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula throughout the day.

If you have—or think you might have—lead pipes, fixtures or solder:

  • When your home’s water has not been used for a several hours or more, turn on cold water to flush the stagnant water out of your pipes before drinking or cooking with it. 
    • The exact time required to flush your pipes will vary based on whether you have a lead service line and the length of the line, but a common recommendation is to allow cold water to run for at least five minutes. 
    • Boiling water does not remove lead.
  • Use a water filter for the water that you will drink or use for cooking. Many types of filters exist. Check this website to ensure that your device is certified to remove lead, or call the Cook County Department of Public Health at 708-633-8054.
  • Always use cold water for drinking, cooking and preparing baby formula.
  • Look for alternate sources or treatment of water.
  • Clean and remove any debris from water aerators on a regular basis.
  • Purchase lead free faucets and plumbing components.
  • Replace the entire lead service line.
  • Have your water tested. Since you cannot see, taste or smell lead dissolved in water, testing is a good way of telling whether lead is present or not.
    • While the Village does not perform water testing in-house, if you would like to have your water tested, here is contact information for water testing labs in the Chicago area:
      • Suburban Laboratories, Inc. - 708-544-3260
      • First Environmental Laboratories, Inc. - 630-778-1200
      • ARRO Laboratory, Inc. - 815-727-5436
  • If you suspect your child has been exposed to lead, contact your child’s doctor to have their blood tested.

More information about these and other tips can be found at the American Water Works Association and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Please note that the Village of Flossmoor collects water samples from 20 sites throughout our drinking water distribution system and sends them to a third party laboratory for lead testing. The EPA requires that this testing is completed every 3 years at locations specified by the EPA. In 2015, the Village’s lead level was 0 ppb (parts per billion).

If you have additional questions, please contact the Department of Public Works at 708-957-4100.