Riverwoods Community Water Supply
By Pat Glenn, Village Engineer
Recent news about contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, may understandably leave people wondering if something like that was likely to happen here. We offer the following to help address those concerns.
In April 2014, Flint ceased purchasing treated drinking water from the City of Detroit (sourced from Lake Huron) and started treating raw water drawn from the Flint River. In accordance with Federal regulations, testing was performed, and it was soon clear that lead levels in tap water were rising rapidly. Upon investigation, it was determined that the lead contamination was caused by the more corrosive river water (due in part to higher salinity from road salt) leaching lead from older plumbing that used lead in the pipes and joints.
While lead water services are not uncommon in the older systems in the Chicago region, the Riverwoods public water system uses copper service lines almost exclusively. In addition, our water supplier, the Village of Northbrook, adds a small amount of a chemical to the treated water that bonds to the inside of pipes to control corrosion. Finally, the Village of Riverwoods tests water for lead at the tap and provides those test results to the Illinois EPA regularly. The tests have never indicated lead levels that would cause concern. Finally, it is virtually impossible that the salinity level of Lake Michigan water could ever reach the level found in the Flint River.
Bottom line- lead contamination of the Village public water supply is extremely unlikely.
For residents served by private wells, the Lake County Health Department offers testing services for lead and other contaminants. You can reach the Health Department at 847-377-8020 orHealthEHS@lakecountyil.gov.