LOGAN SQUARE — The “giant pond” in Palmer Square Park is no more.
Just an hour after Block Club Chicago ran a story on the park’s problem drinking fountain, the Chicago Park District fixed the issue, according to neighbors and park district spokeswoman Michele Lemons.
Crews on Tuesday returned the fountain, which had been running continuously for several weeks, to push-button use, Lemons said. They also unclogged the city drain, which was exacerbating the problem.
Neighbors who were concerned about the water waste and the “mess” it created were thrilled to see the issue fixed. One had said the running fountain and clogged drain created a “giant pond for seven to eight weeks.”
In recent years, the park district has been keeping drinking fountains across the city running at the start of each season — a process called “seasonal flushing” — in a broader effort to keep pipes lead free.
The fountains that don’t test positive for lead are supposed to be returned to push-button use in four weeks, Lemons said.
This year, there was a delay in returning some of the fountains, including the one in Palmer Square Park, to push-button use because district plumbers “have dealt with a number of water main breaks and sewer backups attributed to heavy rainfall.”
Lemons stressed that the Palmer Square Park has “always” tested lead free and is safe to drink from.
“In fact, all operable park drinking fountains, whether push button or continuous run offer safe, lead free drinking water,” the spokeswoman said.
After finding lead in the water of hundreds of park fountains, the park district developed a five-year plan to either remove those fountains or replace the toxic lines with copper, according to WBEZ.
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