Lead in Homes with Domestic Wells in Three Illinois Counties

Walton R Kelly, Sarah Geiger, David Jacobs, Saria Awadalla, Johnathan Bressler, Samuel Dorevitch

Research output: Book/Report/Conference proceedingTechnical report


Lead in drinking water has recently become a national concern on account of the leaching of lead from old water mains and service lines by corrosive water. The Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) requires public water supplies to test the quality of water at taps inside homes within their service area, but this rule does not apply to private water supplies. This study had two main research aims: (1) characterize the distribution of lead concentrations and water corrosivity in homes using domestic well water in three counties (Jackson, Kane, and Peoria) in Illinois and (2) develop and evaluate health department partnerships, participant recruitment approaches, and home sampling methods to inform the design of a scaled-up study. A total of 151 samples was collected from kitchen taps in Phase I of this study. Almost half (48.3%) had detectable lead in the first draw sample, and 22.5% had detectable lead in the seventh liter sample. Five first draw samples (3.3%) exceeded the LCR action level of 15 parts per billion (ppb). For the samples with the highest water lead levels (WLLs), most of the lead appeared to be in the particulate form. Elevated WLLs were associated with older homes and well water with high corrosivity. Results of this study indicate the potential vulnerability of domestic wells throughout Illinois to have lead contamination in tap water.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationChampaign, IL
PublisherIllinois Sustainable Technology Center
Commissioning bodyHazardous Waste Research Fund (HWR18-249)
StatePublished - Apr 2020

Publication series

NameISTC TR Series


  • drinking water
  • lead
  • poison
  • toxicity
  • blood lead level
  • water lead level
  • ISTC


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