Chicago parks shut off half its water fountains due to lead

Updated 5/14/2018 4:17 PM

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Park District says it may remove up to half its outdoor drinking fountains after tests found high levels of lead in the water.

The district said Monday it has removed about 100 of its roughly 1,250 fountains. Approximately 550 other fountains in low-traffic areas will remain shut off until they've been remediated or removed.

Park district spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner tells the Chicago Tribune the shut-off fountains had lead content greater than federal regulations allow in bottled water.

Josh Mogerman of the Natural Resources Defense Council tells WBEZ-FM the parks system is making the correct decision, especially since children are vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure.

The district shut off about 18 percent of its indoor and outdoor water fountains in 2016 after initial testing.

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