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Partnering with Blacks in Green to Test for Lead in Water 

Lead in water is one of the biggest environmental health issues facing Chicago, and it’s something no one can tackle alone. At Elevate, our partnerships with community organizations are what make our work successful. In 2023, we were proud to have 14 Elevate employees volunteer with our partners at Blacks in Green (BIG) to test for lead in water at Chicago homes through BIG’s Lead-Free Water for All program 

Better Together

Elevate and BIG have partnered on many projects over the years, from workforce development initiatives to solar projects. When funding became available from the U.S. EPA to address lead in water, Elevate and BIG worked together to apply with the goal of completing lead in water testing for 16 homes in historically under resourced communities.  

Elevate in the Field: Sampling Water at Chicago Homes

A team of 14 Elevate volunteers participated in training and coordinated with BIG to sample water at homes in Chicago’s Chatham and West Woodlawn neighborhoods. At each home, Elevate staff took water samples to be sent to the Illinois EPA labs for testing. After samples were taken on the first day, BIG installed an under-the-sink filter at each home, and Elevate volunteers returned the following day to take samples of the water again with the filter installed. While at the home, the volunteers also visually inspected the water service line at the building to identify if it was made out of lead or galvanized materials.  

Sampling Results and Impact

Of the 16 homes inspected, nine homes showed elevated lead levels before the water filter was installed. After the water filter was installed, all of the homes’ sample results were “lead not detected,” which is under two parts per billion. These sampling results indicated that the water filters installed by BIG successfully eliminated lead and did not increase lead levels.  

Working with BIG was an opportunity to combine the shared skills and assets from both partners for a successful initiative. Many of Elevate’s volunteers were new to the team, and this work gave them a chance to directly work with our partners and see the positive impacts of our work in the community.  

Learn More

If you think you may be at risk for lead in your water, you can request a free lead test and filtration system from Blacks in Green. To determine if you qualify, fill out their survey. 

Learn more about Elevate’s lead in water work, and stay up to date with our latest news by subscribing to our newsletter. 

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