Chicago, IL (KTRS) Illinois elementary schools and day care centers will have to test drinking water for lead under legislation that Governor Bruce Rauner signed Bruce Monday morning.
Governor Rauner says the new law “is a step in protecting our children from the devastating effects of lead exposure.” SB 550 will ensure proper health protections are in place to protect Illinois’ youngest residents. It provides the requirement for schools and daycare facilities to sample for lead contamination from sources of potable water in school buildings.
School buildings constructed before 1987 must complete testing by the end of this year. Those built later have until the end of 2018
Civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson, who was in attendance for the bill signing, called it a “life-saving bill.”
“I applaud the Governor for signing this important bipartisan legislation that will ensure that schools have healthy drinking water for our children,” said State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago). With these efforts, Illinois becomes a state to model lead testing and safety after.”
“This legislation, along with the enhancements Illinois EPA has proactively implemented with community water supplies over the last year, is an important step towards eliminating the risk of lead exposure to our most vulnerable citizens, Illinois’ children,” said Illinois EPA Acting Director Alec Messina.
“The public can be assured this is a top priority of the Agency and we will continue to implement program improvements and coordinate efforts with our fellow state agencies.” added Messina.
“Elevated levels of lead in children can cause developmental and behavioral disabilities,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “We have made great progress in reducing the number of children with elevated levels and we will continue to work to protect one of our most vulnerable populations.”
In addition to the requirement of testing within schools and daycare centers, SB 550 requires Community Water Systems to provide a comprehensive lead service line inventory to Illinois EPA and provide notice to residents when work will be done on water mains, lead services lines or water meters.
Those built later have until the end of 2018. This action follows the lead-tainted water crisis in Flint, Michigan.