With the city of Chicago set to begin testing tap water in homes of children affected by lead poisoning, the Water Management Department's commissioner is "stepping down to pursue other professional endeavors," according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office.
Emanuel on Thursday announced that Barrett Murphy, the Water Management Department's first deputy commissioner, will replace Tom Powers as the agency's commissioner.
"Over the last five years, Tom has overseen an historic investment in Chicago's infrastructure that has helped to build a better Chicago, and I thank him for his service to the City," Emanuel said in a news release. "Moving forward, Barrett Murphy's vast knowledge of and experience within the department make him the best choice for the job as we continue to implement our 10-year Capital Improvement Program."
Powers, who served as commissioner since 2010, "originally planned on leaving nearly a year ago, but agreed to stay on longer at the mayor's request to ensure a smooth transition," Emanuel's press release said.
Murphy, whose appointment will need to be confirmed by the Chicago City Council, will become the agency's interim commissioner starting May 1.
In light of the lead poisoning water crisis in Flint, Michigan, reporting from the Chicago Tribune found that almost 80 percent of Chicago properties are connected to lead service lines. On Monday, the Chicago Department of Public Health said the city would soon begin testing the water in homes, mostly on the South and West Sides, where children have been impacted by lead poisoning.