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- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2020
Mayor’s Press Office
MAYOR LIGHTFOOT LAUNCHES EQUITY-FOCUSED LEAD SERVICE LINE REPLACEMENT PROGRAM
City to prioritize low-income residents in voluntary replacement program
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Department of Water Management Commissioner Randy Conner and Deputy Commissioner Andrea Cheng, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady and Aldermen George Cardenas and Derrick Curtis to launch the City’s long-awaited Lead Service Line Replacement Program. The voluntary program, designed to provide assistance to residents who wish to replace their lead service lines, will prioritize those who are low-income.
“Chicago’s lead service lines are a legacy issue we need to start meaningfully confronting by moving in the right direction in a responsible way,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “The new Lead Service Line Replacement Program stands as our equity-forward approach to providing residents the support they need, all while providing a foundation to continuously building on our commitment to addressing this important issue for the long term.”
The City’s drinking water is in compliance with all federal, state and industry standards for drinking water. As such, participation in any lead service line replacement program will be voluntary. Proposed changes to the Federal Lead and Copper Rule, which sets the benchmark for the amount of lead in drinking water, are expected to be released this year. Even under the proposed changes, Chicago will remain in compliance based on current lead-in-water testing results. There are approximately 380,000 lead service lines in Chicago, primarily in single-family and two-flat residences.
The City is offering two methods of City-assisted replacement: The Equity Lead Service Line Replacement Program for low-income residents and the Homeowner-Initiated Lead Service Line Replacement Program.
The Equity Lead Service Line Replacement Program will provide complete lead service line replacement for eligible low-income residents. Homeowners may qualify for a free full lead service line replacement if they meet all of the following qualifications:
- Own and reside in their home;
- Have a household income below 80% of the area median income ($72,800 for a family of 4); and,
- Have consistent lead concentrations above 15 ppb in their water, as tested by the Department of Water Management.
Under the Equity Lead Service Line Replacement Program, qualifying homeowners will have their lead service line replaced all the way from the water main into the home by contractors paid fully by the City. Per the Municipal Code, the service line beginning at the water main to the external shut-off valve, usually located under the parkway, is owned and maintained by the City. From the external shut-off valve into the home, the service line is the property and responsibility of homeowners. Single-family homes and two-flats will also receive a free water meter if there was not one already installed, to help residents save money on their water bills.
The Equity Lead Service Line Replacement Program will be paid for by up to $15 million in Community Development Block Grant funds in 2021. There will be an ongoing application process that will allow a number of applicants to receive free replacements. This number will be capped based on a yearly basis, according to the available funding secured for the program each year going forward.
“It’s great the City is taking action, and we’ll learn a lot from these early steps. We look forward to our continued and sustained partnership with the City in addition to seeking State and Federal action and funding to ensure an equitable solution not just in Chicago but for the many affected communities across Illinois,” said Joshua Ellis of the Metropolitan Planning Council.
Laying the Foundation for Ongoing Lead Service Line Replacement, Chicago is exploring additional programs for those residents who wish to replace their service lines but do not qualify for the Homeowner-Initiated or Equity Programs, and to continue building on the long-term plan for the replacement of lead service lines across the City. The City also announced a project to be conducted in 2021 in order to better understand what it would take to perform lead service line replacement when the Department of Water Management replaces water mains.
“We have been replacing miles of aging water and sewer mains for years, some almost a century old. When we open the ground we frequently encounter unanticipated issues. This is why a project involving water main and lead service line replacement performed at the same time is so important,” said Commissioner Conner. “It is enormously helpful to understand what other cities have learned in their programs, but each city and its infrastructure are different.”
The City has commissioned a technical report to explore the full spectrum of funding and operational options for lead service line replacement. The report is expected to be released in the coming months. A working group comprised of stakeholders, regulators and aldermen will be convened to provide input and recommendations based on the report as the City continues to develop its long-term lead service line replacement plan.
Information on the Lead Service Line Replacement Program is available at: www.LeadSafeChicago.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 9, 2020
Mayor’s Press Office
Attached please find press releases announcing various measures introduced to the Chicago City Council today. Below is a list of the releases attached for your convenience:
- Mayor Lightfoot, Aldermen Cardenas, Sadlowski-Garza And Rodriguez Introduce Ordinance To Reform Zoning Rules That Promote Public Health And Improve Air Quality
- Mayor Lightfoot Introduces Appointment Of Matthew W. Beaudet As Commissioner Of The Department Of Buildings
- Mayor Lightfoot Introduces Appointments to Chicago Boards and Commissions
- Various Community and Land Development Measures Introduced by City Council
Attached please find press releases announcing various measures approved by the Chicago City Council today. Below is a list of the releases attached for your convenience:
- City Council Passes Ordinance Banning the Sale of Flavored Vaping Products as The City Takes Another Important Step to Protect the Health of Young People
- City Council Passes the Woodlawn Housing Ordinance
- City Council Approves Collective Bargaining Agreements With Firefighters And Public Safety Employees Unions
- City Council Approves Ordinance To Reform Shared Housing Industry
- Various Community and Land Development Measures Approved by City Council
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, in partnership with IDEO, BMO Harris Bank and the Illinois Restaurant Association, today announced the Winter Design Challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition that will engage community members to reimagine the winter outdoor dining experience in Chicago. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a variety of challenges to Chicago’s restaurant and bar owners, and the Winter Design Challenge will draw on the expertise and creativity of Chicago residents to propose innovative outdoor dining solutions that adhere to COVID-19 protocols. The Challenge will run from August 25 to September 7, with winners announced in mid-September.
“While we’ve had to implement restrictions and take hard measures to combat a recent rise in COVID-19 activity, we will continue to ensure our restaurants, bars and businesses have the supports they need to survive during these unprecedented times,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “We are asking our community members to come together and think creatively about how we can make outdoor dining feasible in the winter.”
The Winter Design Challenge will use human-centered design principles to generate ideas that are tailor made to suit the needs of Chicago residents and take into account the many stakeholders involved – from customers to restaurant workers to construction trade workers. In partnership with IDEO, a leading global design company, the City will use design thinking to find ideas that are innovative, viable, equitable and feasible.
All City of Chicago residents are invited to participate in the Winter Design Challenge. Submissions will be accepted on IDEO’s open innovation platform. A panel of local restaurants and community members will select one winner in each of the following categories: 1) outdoor, standalone structures 2) indoor-adjacent spaces and 3) cultural shifts making winter dining more appealing. All submissions must comply with local COVID-19 guidelines. Thanks to support from BMO Harris Bank, each winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize and opportunities to pilot their idea at restaurants and bars in the City.
“At BMO Harris Bank, we are committed to investing in our local communities, and we’re here to help support Chicago’s restaurants during this difficult time,” said Eric Smith, Vice Chair of BMO Harris Bank. “We know that Chicago residents are innovative and forward-thinking, and we look forward to seeing their ideas for supporting our restaurants and bars, and I hope that the solutions that come out of the Winter Design Challenge will remain long after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.”
The Winter Design Challenge builds on Mayor Lightfoot’s efforts to support restaurants and bars during each phase of the City’s re-opening framework. In May, Mayor Lightfoot announced the Expanded Outdoor Dining Program, which has allowed over 300 restaurants and bars to temporarily into the street or private property. This program was recently expanded to allow taverns without a Retail Food Establishment license to expand into the sidewalk area for the first time. In June, Chicago City Council passed Mayor Lightfoot’s reforms to the sidewalk café permit, making it easier and cheaper for restaurants to operate on their sidewalk space. The City is looking for innovative ideas to keep bars and restaurants thriving during the cold winter months.
“Our restaurants and bars are the heart and soul of the city, and we must do everything possible to keep them operational during the harsh winter months,” said Sam Toia, President and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. “We need out-of-the-box thinking to address the hardship facing our industry. The Winter Design Challenge demonstrates the City’s support of innovation in these trying times, and we look forward to ideas that are both creative and operationally attainable for our members.”
To learn more about The Winter Design Challenge, click here.
Eligible applicants must live in Chicago and commit to monthly virtual meetings (during COVID recovery). Interested individuals can apply here!