Niles spends a lot of money replacing lead service pipes (the pipes that carry water from the city’s mains to homes) that pose a risk to public health, especially the health of children.
The lead used in Illinois water pipes until 1986 was toxic, The U.S. Centers for Disease Control reports that it can adversely affect children’s brains and nervous systems. It causes developmental delay and lowers IQ. Some neighborhood municipalities are considering spending more than $80 million to replace their own lead pipes by 2040, under mandates under 2021 state law.
The village has applied for a $4 million loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to fund the exchange process. The filing estimates that the replacement will cost between $48 million and $72 million.
According to the village application, Niles has at least 3,700 and as many as 6,000 spurs in need of replacement, each of which is expected to cost $12,000 to replace.
Village officials and consultants appeared before the board of trustees at a public hearing required as part of the grant application process, highlighting that full-scale plans for the spur replacement are still underway.
“It takes a little more time to think about how to deal with this problem in the long term,” said Public Works Administrator Tom Powers.
[ Toxic traces: Read the investigation on lead in water at Illinois schools and day cares ]
Amru Atassi, senior project manager at consulting firm CDM Smith, explained to the trustees how to build the service lines and set an October 2024 deadline for local governments to stock service lines and come up with replacement plans. Described federal regulations.
Atassi said Illinois requires a draft replacement plan by April 15, 2024 and a final plan by the same date in 2027.
Public Works Director Tom Powers noted that village officials are also working with officials in Washington and Springfield to secure funding for lead pipe replacement.
“There aren’t a lot of grants,” says Powers. “But I am confident that if there is any kind of support, the village will pursue it both at the staff level and as elected officials.”
“You’re in a similar position to most peer communities…it’s a competitive process,” Atassi said.
Mayor George Arpogianis said he was optimistic about the cost of replacement.
“I will do everything in my power to protect the people,” he said. “In terms of sharing the cost with the public, we are very confident that we will be fine.”
Atassi added that new spurs to be installed in Niles are typically made of copper, but director Craig Niedermeier said the village has the option of replacing spurs with cheaper materials in the future. I asked you please.