By MWRD Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos
Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, it’s understandable how someone might take this vast natural resource of fresh water for granted. But this Sunday, Oct. 3, kicks off Chicago Water Week, an annual event that aims to bring attention to water’s important role in our lives and understand the varied and complex factors that ensure clean and reliable water delivery.
Though our region is blessed with a nearby resource of fresh water, not all of us can rely on safe water to come out of our taps. And, unfortunately, some of those people are here in Illinois.
For years, Illinois has had the dubious distinction of being the state with the most lead pipes in the country, largely due to the amount of lead pipes in the City of Chicago (the city with the most lead pipes in the country).
At the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, our mission is to protect the water environment so that a source of clean and safe water is available for all. But the presence of lead in our drinking water is incredibly dangerous and we know that it doesn’t take much lead to have disastrous effects, particularly among children.
Fortunately, efforts at the federal and state levels are poised to make a real difference: President Biden’s infrastructure plan would eliminate 100% of lead service lines in the United States, and this summer the Illinois legislature passed the Lead Service Line Replacement Notification Act, which mandates that water suppliers develop plans to remove lead service lines across the state.
These investments and commitments in our water delivery infrastructure are crucial and cannot be delayed. Our water supply must be accessible to all Chicagoans because it is an essential component for a healthy life.
Join the MWRD as we partner with Current, an organization dedicated to being a catalyst for cleaner water. for Chicago Water Week. Learn more about this most important of natural resources at CurrentWater.org.
Mariyana Spyropoulos, commissioner, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District