The City of Sycamore complies with all EPA sampling and testing standards. The results of tests confirm that the City of Sycamore water meets or exceeds all EPA drinking water requirements and is safe for consumption. Over the past few years, with the help of a consultant, the City has developed a plan for major water infrastructure improvements which are designed to address many of the issues recently expressed in public meetings by our citizens. Please refer to the EPA website for information regarding water testing in homes. If there are additional questions, please contact the EPA for compliance standards.
The purpose of this page is to increase transparency regarding testing procedures and results for residents and consumers within the City of Sycamore’s water distribution system. This page also outlines Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements for lead and copper, supplies links for residents about the water distribution system and provides testing results; which confirm the City’s compliance with all water quality standards as set by the EPA. More information will be added to this page as results become available or to address questions that arise.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) website provides online access to all City water testing results using the link below. Please contact the Water Division at 815-895-4516 with any questions.
- Drinking Water Watch: http://water.epa.state.il.us/dww/index.jsp
The City of Sycamore, as with all municipal water systems, is required to conduct lead and copper sampling per the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule. Residents can view information on the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule here:
Sampling frequency is determined by size of community and sample results. The City of Sycamore is required to collect 30 samples from resident homes based on service type and/or year built every 3 years. Sample locations were reviewed and approved by the IEPA at the start of the Lead and Copper Rule. Samples are collected by residents using procedures outlined by the EPA. All 30 of the City’s test results complied with EPA requirements. The most recent results can be found here:
*House numbers, names and contact information have been removed from this list to protect confidentiality of individual residents*
The City of Sycamore meets all the requirements of the Lead and Copper Rule and the 90th % value of our community was 5.16 ppb. This is below the Action Level (15ppb) as mandated by the EPA. Below is a copy of the notification that all residents that participated in this round of sampling received.
How Lead Gets into Drinking Water
Lead can enter drinking water when plumbing materials that contain lead corrode, especially where the water has high acidity or low mineral content that corrodes pipes and fixtures. The most common sources of lead in drinking water are lead pipes, faucets, and fixtures. In homes with lead pipes that connect the home to the water main, also known as lead services lines, these pipes are typically the most significant source of lead in the water. Lead pipes are more likely to be found in homes built before 1986. Among homes without lead service lines, the most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and plumbing with lead solder.
The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) has reduced the maximum allowable lead content — that is, content that is considered “lead-free” — to be a weighted average of 0.25 percent calculated across the wetted surfaces of pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures and 0.2 percent for solder and flux.
- Learn more about the maximum allowable content of lead in pipes, solder, fittings and fixtures
- Learn more about EPA’s regulations to prevent lead in drinking water
- Learn how to identify lead-free certification marks on drinking water system and plumbing products (PDF)
Corrosion is a dissolving or wearing away of metal caused by a chemical reaction between water and your plumbing. A number of factors are involved in the extent to which lead enters the water, including:
- the chemistry of the water (acidity and alkalinity) and the types and amounts of minerals in the water,
- the amount of lead it comes into contact with,
- the temperature of the water,
- the amount of wear in the pipes,
- how long the water stays in pipes, and
- the presence of protective scales or coatings inside the plumbing materials.
To address corrosion of lead and copper into drinking water, EPA issued the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) under the authority of the SDWA. One requirement of the LCR is corrosion control treatment to prevent lead and copper from contaminating drinking water. Corrosion control treatment means utilities must make drinking water less corrosive to the materials it comes into contact with on its way to consumers’ taps. Learn more about EPA’s regulations to prevent lead in drinking water.
Lead is NOT found in the City of Sycamore’s source groundwater. The City of Sycamore utilizes corrosion control treatment by the addition of a phosphate blend to the water at the individual Well sites.
The City is responsible for the watermain, valves, hydrants and treatment. Residents are responsible for the service line and all internal plumbing materials, fixtures and connections.
Per the City’s Municipal Code:
8-2-6: REPAIRS OR REPLACEMENT; EXCAVATIONS:
A. Responsibility: All repairs for or replacement if water service pipes from point of connection to the city water main to the building shall be made by and at the expense of the owners of the premises served. The city may, in case of emergency, repair any service pipes and if this is done, the cost of such repair work shall be repaid to the city by the owner of the premises served.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Water Division at (815) 895-4516
Future Infrastructure Improvements
In June of 2019, the City of Sycamore selected a local consultant to complete a Water Master Plan. The goal of this document was to provide an inventory of existing improvements and evaluate the capacity of the system against existing and future needs. The study uses this information to provide recommendations for future improvements to meet capacity and regulatory requirements. The Water Master Plan was completed in December 2019 and outlined suggested priority improvements.
During budget preparation in February, the City Council discussed a capital infrastructure fee of $3.50 per month for residential users that would generate approximately $350,000 to be used to begin to address these projects and future main replacement. The fee would increase on a sliding scale based on the size of the water meter. The rationale behind the amount of the proposed fee was that it would allow for the replacement of 1,000 linear feet of main and corresponding appurtenances per year. The Council indicated support for the dedicated capital fee and the commitment to investing in the water infrastructure. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, the Council deferred implementation of the capital infrastructure fee as residents and businesses wrestled with the impacts of the virus.
The City Council’s Public Works Committee convened in September, in response to complaints of water smell and taste. The purpose of the workshop was to provide the public and committee members with an overview of the water distribution system, the water master plan and main replacement plan. It was also intended to outline the operational and testing procedures the City completes as required by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).
With these recent community discussions about water age and quality, the City Council continued discussions to identify a dedicated revenue source to fund water main infrastructure improvements.
The Water Fund is an Enterprise Fund that is self-supporting as revenue from user fees serve as the principal funding source for the operations of the City’s water system. The fund also pays the debt service utilized for capital improvements or repairs to the City’s wells, two elevated water storage tanks, and 115 miles of water main. The City removes radium from the water as required by the IEPA and charges a fee commensurate to the cost. No property taxes are used to support the water system or operations.
Discussions regarding a dedicated revenue source for water infrastructure improvements will continue at a future Council meeting.