Park District to shut off 200 outdoor drinking fountains amid lead concerns


As the mercury climbs this summer, Chicagoans — including tens of thousands of kids enrolled in summer camps at city parks — will have about 16 percent fewer outdoor water fountains to rely on because lead testing once again has shown the city’s tap water is tainted.

The Chicago Park District, in cooperation with the Department of Water Management, has launched its “seasonal flushing” of stagnant water held in pipes below the city’s 1,200 outdoor drinking fountains — something begun after Flint, Michigan’s issues with lead in drinking water put a spotlight on water quality. But it’s not a merely routine event; the city also will deactivate at least 16 percent of those fountains because lead testing has shown they’re a danger to users, reducing the city’s overall inventory to about 1,000 safe outdoor park fountains.