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Water Quality

The Village provides fresh, clean water to approximately 17,000 residential and business locations throughout Downers Grove. Over 100,000 consumers enjoy water that is safe for drinking, cooking and bathing on a daily basis. In fact, the water supplied by the Village meets all Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) standards, including those for lead.

We are dedicated to providing water that is clean and safe for you to use. If you have any questions at all please contact the Village at 630.434.5500. We'll be happy to provide you with the assistance and information you need.

Water Quality Report

In accordance with the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA ) requires that the Village file this report annually.

The 2018 Water Quality Report summarizes the quality of the water the Village provided in the last year and includes information about where our water comes from, what it contains and how it compares to U.S. EPA standards.

Water Notifications

Effective July 1, 2016, the Village is enacting some enhanced notifications recommended by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), to increase water quality awareness and reduce the potential for lead in drinking water.

Water customers can expect to receive a letter from the Village about the impacts of construction activity and the risks of lead in the water when one the following occurs:

  • A watermain replacement project within one (1) block of your location.
  • The repair of a watermain break within one (1) block of your location.
  • The replacement of your water meter.

Lead plumbing was used in homes built in the early 20th century and phased out during the 1960s. Lead pipes were banned by the U.S. EPA after 1986. Simply having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you have lead in your water. However, it does indicate that you may be at greater risk from lead if corrosion occurs or when the service line is disrupted, such as during a maintenance project.

Frequently Asked Questions About Lead In Drinking Water 

Does the Village test the drinking water for lead? Yes. In accordance with IEPA rules, the Village began testing for lead with 60 samples sites located throughout the Village in 1992. Since measured lead levels fall below the 15 parts per billion (ppb) requirement, the required number of testing sites was reduced to 30. The Village continues to monitor 30 sites every 3 years as required by the EPA.

What are the results of the testing? During the most recent sampling period (2014), the sample from one of the 30 sites tested in the Village exceeded the 15 ppb threshold (~22 ppb). To meet IEPA regulations, no more than 10% of the samples can exceed 15 ppb. All of the other sites had levels below 5 ppb, which is the lowest level the test can detect for lead. Here is the complete Water Quality Report.   

Do I have a lead service line? The service line is the portion of pipe which extends from the connection at the water system into your home. Use this guide to help hone in on the type of material used in yours:

  • Homes built prior to 1930 most likely have a lead water service line (unless upgraded during a remodel).
  • Homes built between 1930 and 1960 may have a lead service line.
  • Homes built after 1960 are likely to have a copper service line.

Next, go to the water meter in your home and locate the portion of pipe which comes through the foundation or floor from the outside and connects to the meter. (photo left).  A lead service line is generally dull gray in color and very soft, whereas copper is dark orange.

A sure way to determine if the pipe coming into your home is made of lead is to carefully scratch it with a coin (photo, right)

If it is lead, the scratched area will turn bright silver. Knives or other sharp instruments should NOT be used and care must be taken as to not puncture a hole in the pipe. Just a simple easy swipe is all that's needed. 

Can the water in my house be tested? Having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you have lead in your water. However, it does indicate that you may be at greater risk from lead if corrosion of the pipe occurs. Since you cannot see, taste or smell lead dissolved in water, testing is a good way of telling whether or not lead is present. The cost for testing can range between $20 and $100 and specific steps are required in order to draw an accurate sample. Contact information for several of the labs near the area are provided below. The Village is ready to assist you at 630.434.5500 with any questions you may have.  

  • Suburban Laboratories, Inc.
    1950 S. Batavia Ave Ste 150
    Geneva, IL 60134
    (708) 544-3260
  • First Environmental Laboratories, Inc.
    1600 Shore Road, Suite D
    Naperville, IL 60563
    Telephone: (630) 778-1200
  • ARRO Laboratory, Inc.
    P.O. Box 686
    Joliet, IL 60434-0686
    Telephone(815)727-5436

What can I do to reduce exposure to lead?  Having a lead service line does not necessarily mean you have lead in your water. To reduce your risk from lead exposure, you can follow these guidelines:

  • Run your water for a few minutes to flush out lead after periods of non-use, such as first thing in the morning, after work or returning from vacation.
  • Always use cold water for drinking and cooking. Lead dissolves more easily in hot water and boiling water will not remove lead.
  • Use a National Sanitation Federation certified filter. 
  • Periodically remove and clean your faucet aerators.
  • You may also want to consider replacing your lead service line. Please contact the Village to learn more about lead service line replacement.
Can I replace a lead service line?  Yes. Residents wishing to replace a water service line should contact a licensed plumber to perform the work. Replacement of a water service requires a permit from the Village for the water connection and for work in the public right-of-way. The water connection permit includes a tap fee and an inspection fee totalling approximately $400 for a one-inch (1") service. When work is done in the parkway, a right-of-way permit must also be obtained. This permit requires the posting of a $1,000 refundable bond.

How much does it cost to replace a lead service line? The cost of replacing a water service line varies significantly depending upon the length of the service and disturbance to paved areas and landscaping. In most cases, it will cost a homeowner between $5,500 and ­$7,500 to install a new water service line from the house to the watermain.

Tastes and Odors

Residents experiencing any quality issues with their water should contact Public Works at (630) 434-5460.

Taste and odor complaints received by the Downers Grove Water Division are typically related to changes in the temperature of Lake Michigan, the source of the Village's water. Most summer complaints are related to an earthy, musty smell and those in the winter months are related to a metallic or chlorine taste. To alleviate these conditions, the following procedures are followed:

A. The Chicago Water Department adds powdered activated carbon (PAC) to the water at the Jardine Water Purification Plant. The application rate of PAC is based upon the concentration of water vegetation and the number of taste and odor complaints. Residents are urged to contact the Village with any taste and odor complaints. These complaints are forwarded to the DuPage Water Commission, who then logs them with the Jardine Plant in Chicago. When there is a rise in complaints, adjustments to treatment are made accordingly. However, due to the travel distance from Chicago to the DuPage Water Commission, it takes approximately 24 hours to note a change in the water quality once it has been treated.

B. In addition to the application of PAC at the Jardine Plant, the DuPage Water Commission constantly raises and lowers the water level in its standpipes. The purpose of this is to keep the water in the tanks fresh. Once a week, the standpipes are isolated and the water level in the standpipes is lowered. When the water level in the standpipes gets to a predetermined level, the tanks are refilled.

C. The Downers Grove Water Division monitors our seven water towers daily to ensure that we are withdrawing water at a constant rate. This allows the water within our tanks to drain down during the day and fill back up at night. This keeps the water in our tanks turned over, refreshing the water within our mains.