The city of Chicago is rolling out new programs to have water in homes and schools tested for lead.
Chicago residents can now call 311 "to request a free water quality test" at their home, according to the mayor's office. Through the program, residents can expect to hear back from the city within two business day to schedule a water testing appointment. Testing results will be provided within three weeks of a water sample being taken and will be posted online.
"If test results show lead levels above 15 parts per billion, the threshold for action, DWM [the Department of Water Management] will schedule a return visit to the home, this time accompanied by a plumber and electrician to evaluate the site, determine the potential source of lead and recommend an appropriate mitigation plan," reads a statement from the mayor's office. "DWM water mains and pipes are not made of lead, but older single family or two-flat homes constructed before 1986 have lead services lines on the property of the owner; if a home tests above the threshold for lead, the City will help the homeowner identify the problem and recommend a plan of action to address it."
The city also began testing water in 28 public schools this week. Testing sites were chosen based on a set of criteria, including the age of the school and its students and whether the school has kitchen and pipes in possible need of repair or replacement, according to the city.
The mayor's office said the water testing in schools is being done "out of an abundance of caution."
"While CPS has no indication that there is any lead present in school water, CPS has launched a pilot program to develop a standard approach for testing across the district," the statement said.
The city's new water testing programs comes in light of the lead poisoning water crisis in Flint, Michigan.
Almost 80 percent of Chicago properties are connected to lead service lines.
Earlier this month, the Chicago Department of Public Health also said the city would soon begin testing the water in homes, mostly on the South and West Sides, where children have been impacted by lead poisoning.