Illinois Drinking Water Contamination
Communities often boast about the awards they receive, and for good reason. If your city has been recognized for something positive, why not celebrate it? Achievements like “Best Small Town in America” or “Happiest City in California” are certainly brag-worthy. However, there are some designations that should make an entire state reconsider what it’s doing and make changes. Sadly, this is the case for Illinois regarding clean water.
Last May, Illinois was named among the worst dozen states in terms of drinking water quality violations.
Water System Violations
The report demonstrating Illinois’ water quality issues looked at public drinking water systems and ranked the states based on the number of Safe Drinking Water Act violations and the size of the affected populations. As Illinois residents, these reports are quite scary to consider. Too often, we simply expect that our municipalities will handle any problems that arise with water infrastructure. The data shows, however, that this is not always the case.
Terrible violations, such as the Flint, Michigan, catastrophe involving water with high lead levels, are front page news. However, there are many lesser, though still harmful, water quality violations happening all over the country. In fact, a disturbing study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly twenty million Americans each year become sick from pathogens present in public drinking water systems.
Researchers found that in 2015, more than 57,000 Illinois residents received water from systems with lead and copper violations. This is especially concerning since the Environmental Protection Agency says that exposing humans to lead is not safe at any level. Lead has been shown to have numerous harmful impacts on health, such as causing damage to the nervous system and leading to cognitive problems. The harm is most severe in children.
This is not Illinois’ only water quality problem. There have also been concerns with brown water coming out of taps in St. Charles, smelly, foul-tasting water delivered to Elgin residents, and high radon levels in water throughout Kane County. Each of these topics has been covered in greater detail in our prior blog posts.
How to Make Sure Your Family’s Water is Safe
All of this information can be scary to digest. Obviously, we don’t want to consider that our home’s water, which we use and consume frequently, may be harming us. Fortunately, there is an easy way to set your mind at ease. Having professionals come out and test your water is a relatively inexpensive way to determine whether you have anything to worry about. Since conditions affecting your water quality can change, it’s wise to have your water tested periodically, whether you get it from a well or from a municipal water supply. We recommend testing your water at least once a year.