Galesburg Meets EPA Water Quality Standards in Spring, 2016 EPA Tests, and an Independent Lab Certifies that The Galesburg Water is Lead-Free Prior to Entering Privately-Owned Lead Service Lines

June 7, 2016 10:30 AM

Galesburg Meets EPA Water Quality Standards in Spring, 2016 EPA Tests, and an Independent Lab Certifies that The Galesburg Water is Lead-Free Prior to Entering Privately-Owned Lead Service Lines

The City’s short-term and long-term initiatives are proactively addressing the nationwide challenge of lead contamination by privately-owned lead water service lines and protecting the health of Galesburg citizens

Galesburg, IL  June 6, 2016     The City of Galesburg announced today that the results of two separate recent tests of the City’s water quality indicate that it meets applicable state and federal water quality standards.  

The results of the spring, 2016 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency bi-annual water quality test indicate that only 3.3 percent of samples (2 out of 60) had lead levels that exceeded the EPA’s action level of 15 parts per billion; these two sampling locations were Galesburg residences with lead water service lines.  These test results return Galesburg to compliance with EPA "Lead and Copper Rule" standards. Those standards require municipalities to take a range of actions if more than 10% of taps sampled exceed lead concentrations of 15 parts per billion.  

Galesburg’s fall, 2015 water quality test results indicated a 13.33% of taps sampled exceeded the EPA lead concentration level.   Since that time the City has exceeded the prescribed actions to protect public health and regain EPA compliance, including increasing the amount of corrosion inhibitor added to the water system to reduce erosion of lead in privately-owned water service lines, offering free water testing services and water filters to residents, and successfully applying for federal funding to replace several thousand privately-owned lead service lines in Galesburg.    The City has been replacing lead water service lines on a limited basis for years, but will now be able to do so on a much larger scale and in a much shorter three-year timeframe through this funding, which is being provided in the form of a forgivable loan.  Galesburg has also recently funded and initiated a comprehensive corrosion control study to determine the most effective means to control corrosion of lead water service lines and fixtures.

The City will conduct its next set of EPA water quality tests in the fall of 2016.   All such tests are always executed in accordance with U.S. EPA and Illinois EPA guidelines.

Separately, the City retained the services of PDC Laboratories, a State of Illinois accredited drinking water analysis laboratory, to test the Galesburg water system from its source all the way through the water mains that carry water to the privately-owned water service lines that connect local properties to the Galesburg water system.  The tests reconfirmed the fact that the Galesburg water system is lead-free.   A copy of the PDC Laboratories test results is available from the Galesburg Water Division.   

"Galesburg is at the forefront of cities and towns nationwide that are actively confronting the threat to public health posed by the privately-owned lead service lines that connect local properties to our City’s water system," said John Pritchard, Mayor of Galesburg Illinois.  "We are going beyond state and federal guidelines to track, manage, and ultimately eliminate lead from entering any Galesburg home or business in their water.   Our expanded initiatives to obtain state and federal funding to accelerate the removal of these privately-owned lead service lines, and conduct an in-depth lead corrosion control study show the City’s commitment to finding effective, short and long-term solutions that will benefit Galesburg and beyond."

The clear conclusions that can be drawn from these important tests are that private lead water service lines, not the Galesburg Water System itself are the source of lead contamination in properties with the presence of lead in their water; and that the anti-corrosion measures being taken by the Galesburg Water Department have reduced the level of lead contamination from lead service lines.   Galesburg’s recent qualification for a $4 million federally funded forgivable loan to finance the removal and replacement of approximately 2,000 privately-owned lead service on an expedited basis, and the City is continuing to examine additional financial options to facilitate the replacement of all lead water service lines.  

The Galesburg Water Division is available to residents and local businesses to provide information regarding the location of lead service lines, free water testing, and free water filter systems for properties where testing shows a lead level in excess of 15 ppb.   The Galesburg Water Division office is at 920 West Main Street and can be reached at 309 345-3649.



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