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Local News

Joliet kicks off program for replacement of lead water lines

Construction crews work to replace old utilities lines under Terry Drive on June 20, 2017, in Joliet.
Construction crews work to replace old utilities lines under Terry Drive on June 20, 2017, in Joliet.

Joliet will kick off a program to replace water service lines made of lead at a community meeting Tuesday night.

The program provides no-interest loans for residents who want to replace service lines made out of lead, which still are found at older homes in the city. Joliet has banned lead service lines since the late 1930s.

To prevent contamination, Joliet adds a blended phosphate to city water that coats lead pipes and protects the water from lead corrosion.

Utilities Director Allison Swisher will make a presentation on the lead service replacement program at a meeting of the East Side Neighborhood Association at 6:30 p.m. in the Nowell Park Recreation Center.

The city is starting on the East Side because of the numbers of homes in older neighborhoods built before the 1940s, Swisher said.

“We’ll be mailing letters to homeowners that meet that criteria,” Swisher said.

Since not everyone responds to mail, the city will next go door-to-door dropping off information for residents who might be interested.

Swisher said Joliet will send a city plumber to homes of residents needing help to determine if service lines, which bring water from the main to the house, are made of lead.

Replacing the line can cost between $4,000 and $8,000, she said. The city will not cover the cost but will provide no-interest loans.

Council member Larry Hug, who chairs the City Council’s Public Service Committee, noted the city can also work out payment schedules.

“We are offering payment plans to fit their needs,” Hug said.

Joliet will replace the service lines at no charge in those instances when it is doing work on water mains or service lines and disturb the home owner’s portion of the line.

The City Council last week awarded a contract capped at $349,400 to three local contractors for service line replacements this year. The contractors are Stip Bros. Excavating of Joliet, Len Cox & Sons Excavating of Crest Hill and Austin Tyler Construction of Elwood.

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