Hazardous Chemicals Found in Area Wells

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Loves Park homeowners with private wells are asked to take precautions with their drinking water Friday night. The Winnebago County Health Department says hazardous chemicals have been found in at least 10 wells around the old Sand Park Landfill.

After testing some private wells this past summer, the State Department of Public Health and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency say at least six of those wells exceed acceptable levels of volatile organic chemicals.

Health officials are still trying to figure out the source of the contamination that left at least 10 wells in Loves Park testing positive for volatile organic chemicals.

"It could be old gas stations, old industries that before the regulations came across didn't know what to do with waste products," said Ruth Roth, the Groundwater Protection Coordinator for the Winnebago County Health Department.

Roth says the levels of the chemicals are not a major concern, but studies are still premature on what can happen if you drink low amounts over a long period of time. The bottom line, she says: "It's up to the homeowner to check the quality of the water to test for bacteria nitrates annually and in urban areas, checking for volatile organic chemicals to make sure the water is safe to drink."

Roth also stressed the importance of checking the water every year. Since groundwater is always moving toward a river or creek, she says a test one year may show up fine, but then the next year you could have problems.

If you would like more information on how to check your water supply or a list of labs that do water testing you can call the Winnebago County Health Department at 962-5092.

Homeowners who do have private wells are urged to buy bottled water or use a water filter until the source of the contamination is found.