Barrington creates plan to replace lead pipes in town

  • Barrington has a plan in place to begin replacing hundreds of lead water pipes in town, as well as seek grants to help pay for the work.

    Barrington has a plan in place to begin replacing hundreds of lead water pipes in town, as well as seek grants to help pay for the work. Daily Herald File Photo, 2017

 
 
Updated 7/6/2021 7:53 PM

The village of Barrington has a plan in place to quickly apply for any funding that becomes available to replace lead pipes, also called service lines, in town.

The lead service line replacement project plan outlines the location of lead pipes, the environmental impacts of replacement and possible loan repayment mechanisms. The plan was done by the consulting company Engineering Enterprises Inc. The village held a public hearing June 28 about it and received no comment from members of the public.

 

"All the village is doing at this time is being proactive to make itself eligible, hopefully, for grants in the future, or for very low-interest loans in the future, that would reduce the burdens on the residents, hopefully significantly," Public Works Director Jeremie Lukowicz said Tuesday.

The village lost an opportunity to apply in 2020 for funding from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency because it didn't have the plan in place, Lukowicz said. "Hopefully they will do another round of funding."

Like in many municipalities across Illinois, Barrington's lead service lines date back many decades, before the United States banned their installation in 1986.

Barrington owns the portion of service lines from the water main to the shut-off valve (also called b-box); property owners own the portion from the shut-off valve to the water meter.

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Barrington has 4,553 services lines running from water mains to water meters: 995 are lead, 2,759 are copper, and 799 are made of unknown other materials. Among the 995 lead service lines, 588 have lead portions owned by residents, 20 have lead portions owned by the village, and 387 are entirely lead.

Lukowicz said it would cost about $10 million to replace all 955 lead service lines in Barrington.

The village has been replacing its own portion of lead service lines gradually over the years, whenever it performs water main projects in the area, Lukowicz said.

Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly passed a bill in May requiring water utilities to replace lead service lines -- meaning the entire portion from the water main to the water meter, Lukowicz said.

Water utilities would have to submit a plan by April 2024, with a final plan due to state environmental officials by April 2027. Gov. J.B. Pritzker has yet to sign the bill into law.

Village officials stressed that there are no issues with the quality of water in Barrington, which also supplies to portions of Inverness and Barrington Hills.

The village treats it water with polyphosphates to help prevent lead from leaching into the water, which is in compliance with all Environmental Protection Agency regulations, village spokeswoman Patty Dowd Schmitz said.

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