* WBEZ has a story about a tap water study done on the city’s South Side by Virginia Tech researchers…
But the tests also showed another disturbing trend: Lead levels in many homes got higher as the water ran for up to three minutes.
In fact, the study found that after three minutes of running water, Chicago has more lead on average than Flint, Mich., during its 2015 water crisis. […]
“(T)the Chicago Department of Water Management continues to advise residents with lead service lines or fixtures to flush their water for five minutes every time their water has been stagnant for six hours or more,” Water Department spokeswoman Megan Vidis wrote in an email to WBEZ.
About 80% of Chicago homes — mostly those built before 1987— have lead service lines connected to their homes. Researchers suspect the reason lead levels rise after running the water for around three minutes is because that is when the water that has been sitting in lead service lines reaches the tap.
Who flushes their water lines for five minutes?
In response to the findings, Vidis noted the city of Chicago consistently meets “U.S. EPA standards for drinking water of 15 parts per billion.” […]
[Marc Edwards, who led the U.S. Water Study Research Team doing the tests for the study] said this low bar is unacceptable, in part because his study and others indicate that the first liter out of the tap is often much lower in lead than the water that follows.
“Everyone knows the Lead and Copper rule is not sufficiently protective and this is just a loophole — some even call it the Chicago loophole,” Edwards said. “The first [liter] draw seems low whereas the normal water people drink tends to be higher. Maybe this loophole will be closed when the new Lead and Copper rules are announced.”
Aside from causing brain damage, lead exposure has been connected to increased violent behavior.