"As cities across the nation overhaul their aging, increasingly fragile drinking water systems, some municipal leaders are digging deeper to erase a toxic legacy that endangers millions of Americans: lead water pipes connecting homes to street mains.
The growing list includes Milwaukee, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Denver and St. Paul, all of which are adding pipe replacements to municipal construction projects by dipping into local funds, offering homeowners payment plans or taking advantage of low-interest loans funded jointly by federal and state lawmakers. Other cities have plans in the works.
Chicago has more lead service lines than any other city and required them by law until 1986, when Congress banned the use of the brain-damaging metal to convey drinking water. But as Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushes ahead with expensive plans to modernize Chicago's water system, administration officials say it is up to individual homeowners to decide whether it is worth replacing the pipes at their own expense."