To address ongoing issues concerning public health inequities in disenfranchised communities, State Senator Mike Simmons announced that he has secured $1 million in state funding for the replacement of lead pipes in South Evanston.
“For too long, lead in our drinking water has exposed our neighbors to adverse health effects, further building on the inequities our communities face. We have to get focused on this, we can’t make any excuses when it comes to lead pipes,” said Simmons (D-Chicago). “This funding provides long overdue resources to address a problem that is systemic in nature, is decades in the making, and often does the most damage to Black and Brown communities like those who call South Evanston home.”
Simmons was joined by Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Evanston’s 8th Ward Alderman Devon Reid for the announcement. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health there were almost 680,000 reported community lead service lines in the Illinois water systems in 2019. In Evanston there are almost 11,500 which need to be addressed.
The City of Evanston Lead Service Line Replacement program was created to remove lead contaminated water service lines with prioritization in low-to-moderate income areas. Beginning in 2022, the pilot project replaced the private side of the contaminated service line that already had the public side of the contaminated service line replaced. Currently, priority is focused on the completion of the partial lead service line replacements due to the increased likelihood of lead exposure.
“Public health issues are among my highest priorities — both in terms of access to health care, but also that the environments that surround our households and communities are safe,” said Simmons. “I am happy we are able to take this step forward with a significant amount of resources, and multiple elected officials prioritizing this for south Evanston.”