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Lead In East Chicago Drinking Water From Aging Infrastructure

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The Environmental Protection Agency says its clean up activities in East Chicago, Indiana are not causing the high lead levels recently measured in drinking water. The group says the lead is coming from aging service lines.

East Chicago’s Calumet neighborhood is a federally designated cleanup site because former factories left dangerous levels of lead in its soil. The Environmental Protection Agency tested the drinking water in homes there to make sure clean up efforts aren’t also dislodging the lead within the aging water services lines.

The EPA measured contaminated drinking water in 18 homes.

At a public meeting Monday, the City of East Chicago told residents the high lead levels recently measured in drinking water are likely the result of the clean up efforts.

But the EPA says lead levels were high prior to excavation because there wasn’t enough phosphate in the water, which prevents lead from leaching out of service lines.

The EPA says the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is working with the city to address the problem.

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