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You gotta be kidding me

Friday, Feb 26, 2016

* What could possibly go wrong?

When Chicago officials tested household tap water for lead last year, they largely bypassed parts of the city that face greater risks of exposure to the brain-damaging metal, a Tribune analysis has found.

Of the 50 homes tested, only three were on streets where the water main had been replaced during the past five years — work that federal researchers have found can cause alarming levels of lead to leach into tap water for weeks, months or even years afterward.

Mirroring a pattern that dates to at least 2003, most of the homes tested last year are concentrated on the city’s Far Northwest and Southwest sides — areas where cases of childhood lead poisoning are rare.

The vast majority of the homes are owned by people who work for or retired from the Chicago Department of Water Management, the same taxpayer-funded agency that would be required under federal law to earmark millions of dollars to replace lead pipes if the city violated safe drinking water standards.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons.

This could be the beginning of yet another huge scandal/crisis under Mayor Emanuel.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

19 Comments
  1. - Daniel Plainview - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 1:25 pm:

    Boy these investment bankers and private equity types sure are great managers. Makes you wonder why more great leaders throughout history came out of finance.


  2. - Daniel Plainview - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 1:27 pm:

    *didn’t come out of finance.


  3. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    The city replaced pipes around these parts. I do not feel so good reading this, but do not want a drink of water.


  4. - Korndog - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 1:38 pm:

    What the hell? People should be put in jail for crap like this. I hope this attempt at a cover up hasn’t caused kids to be harmed, but you have to wonder.


  5. - Whatever - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 1:38 pm:

    Madigan and the lead pipes he controls. If they didn’t have to pay prevailing wage, they could afford more and better testing.


  6. - Another prof - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 1:50 pm:

    And it just keeps on coming, doesn’t it?


  7. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 1:52 pm:

    This is the third strong article the Tribune has published concerning lead in the Chicago water supply system and how poorly it is being monitored.


  8. - wordslinger - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:05 pm:

    –The vast majority of the homes are owned by people who work for or retired from the Chicago Department of Water Management, the same taxpayer-funded agency that would be required under federal law to earmark millions of dollars to replace lead pipes if the city violated safe drinking water standards.–

    What an amazing coincidence. What are the odds?

    This is bad faith. They went to where they already knew they wouldn’t find lead. They didn’t want to find lead, didn’t want to find a problem.

    That “problem,” of course, could lead to brain damage in children, but we don’t want to bring Emanuel any bad news. He gets cranky.

    The Trib is knocking the stuff out of this story. This is real journalism, turning over a rock and doing a real service for real people, rather than just taking dictation from Mayor Spin Doctor on the daily dish on personality conflicts.

    Put the hammer down, and don’t let up.


  9. - Judgment Day - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:15 pm:

    Talk about “Cooking The Books”! Hey, if you can control the ‘random’ data sets, you can control the results.

    Chicago will put Flint, MI to shame.

    There’s a potential silver lining. The first water main to be replaced will likely be located right in front of Jason Gonzales campaign office.

    Never let a good crisis go to waste…..


  10. - Mason born - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:15 pm:

    I really doubt that anyone who works with potable water was content to stay in a house with a high risk of lead leaching. Personally I would either remodel to remove the lead or refuse to purchase the property. It is not unusual for water suplies to use employees to take samples as the employees have more training and experience. Lead samples are different since they must be taken in homes which are the most likely to contain lead.

    This is deceitful.


  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:16 pm:

    Since at least 2003? This has been going on for over a decade, well before Emanuel’s time. He inherited this practice from the Daley era, and while he may review the water reports it is doubtful he scrutinizes decades of them to compare the locations where the water was drawn.

    This is a byproduct of Chicago Democrats’ broken patronage system. When you use the water department as a political dumping ground, this is what happens.


  12. - A guy - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:27 pm:

    We’ve tested water at 4 houses on this block; the Hinckley’s, the Schmitt’s, the Dasani’s and the Evian’s. It’s all good.


  13. - Old Shepherd - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:28 pm:

    I noticed that the “Illinois Clean Water Fund” was on yesterday’s list of fund sweeps.


  14. - Judgment Day - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:31 pm:

    “Since at least 2003? This has been going on for over a decade, well before Emanuel’s time. He inherited this practice from the Daley era, and while he may review the water reports it is doubtful he scrutinizes decades of them to compare the locations where the water was drawn.”
    ———–

    In all fairness, the real root of this problem is the federal Clean Water Act. In too many places it was ‘one size fits all’ and the regs were fairly unyielding. And when they were writing the laws, rarely did they ever listen to the people who knew what the real situation was on the ground (or in the water, in this case).

    So the operations folks got told to deal with it, and btw, there’s no pot of money out there, so figure out a way to deal with it.

    And they did…..

    And things have gotten steadily worse. Not trying to excuse it, just saying.


  15. - Just Me - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:45 pm:

    I would just want to know if the water testing was done as part of a cite-wide water testing request program that anybody can use, but only DWM people know it exists and request it.


  16. - Daniel Plainview - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 2:53 pm:

    - it is doubtful he scrutinizes decades of them to compare the locations where the water was drawn. -

    That’s what you have staff for, if you’re competent enough to manage them.

    You think maybe after all those years of Daley and the well known disasters he produced, you might want to dig around to make sure there aren’t any unknowns?

    But it doesn’t matter, I guess, because “gravitas”.


  17. - Mason born - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    Just me

    These were water tests required to show compliance with the clean water act. A certain number of test are required based off population.


  18. - Chris - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 4:00 pm:

    “it is doubtful he scrutinizes decades of them ”

    The proper term is scrootened. I’m sure the tests were fully scrootened under Daley. Which is why they chose the houses they did.

    I’m also pretty sure that (1) no one in the water department has Rahms ear, and (2) none who has Rahms ear was aware of the possible issue until Flint happened.

    As to where does the money come from–y’all are aware that, when they replace the main (steel) they replace the feed line to the shutoff, too (copper) and the from the buffalo box to the house (lead) is the homeowners responsibility, right?


  19. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Feb 26, 16 @ 4:58 pm:

    Trust but verify no longer applies. We have gone to distrust and monitor through independent third parties.

    Paranoia is the new normal.


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