Des Plaines, Illinois

Des Plaines, Illinois Des Plaines, Illinois

What is the Water Quality in Des Plaines, Illinois?

Compared to other US cities, Des Plaines water quality ranks in the high range for contamination excluding Lead.

Most of their 16 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.

  • Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 42x health guidelines.
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 169x health guidelines.
  • Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 309x health guidelines.
    • HAA5 and HAA9 are byproducts of chlorine treatment, a common method of disinfecting water supplies.

Let’s look closer at what’s in Des Plaines water.

What’s in Des Plaines water?

Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:

  1. Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
  2. Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
  3. Haloacetic acids (HAA5 and HAA9) – Potential effect: Cancer
  4. Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
  5. Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer

These are five of the 16 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (

10 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.

Does Des Plaines have Lead contamination?

Yes, Des Plaines has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected in 2019 showed concentrations up to 4.3 parts per billion (ppb).

The legal limit for lead is 15 parts per billion. Being well-below this level is a good thing.

  • Concentrations between 3.8 ppb and 15 ppb put a formula-fed baby at risk of elevated blood lead levels. Read more about the symptoms of Lead in water.

There is no safe level of lead for humans.

  • The good news is that 99.99% of the lead can be filtered out.

See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.

Where does Des Plaines’ water come from?

Des Plaines’ water comes from the Weller Creek – Des Plaines River watershed.

7 of the 8 water sources in the Weller Creek – Des Plaines River watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:

  • Beck
  • Big Bend
  • Des Plaines River
  • Opeka

Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition. Axehead is the only water source in Good condition.

Learn more from How’s My Waterway

See below for what you can do to improve Des Plaines’ water.

What Can You Do?

Information about water quality in Des Plaines can be surprising and downright scary.

But there are things you can do in your home to clean up your water.

To Remove Lead and Other Contaminants In Your Home:

There is one solution that beats Brita, PUR, and expensive whole house systems.

  • It costs less per gallon.
  • Needs fewer filter changes.
  • And it doesn’t make your water taste weird.

  • Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 81% of contaminants in your drinking water.
    • Berkey filters can also remove up to 99.99% of Lead in Des Plaines water.
    • Brita can filter 11 of 16 contaminants and Lead depending on the filter.
    • Note: We may receive a commission if you decide to purchase filters through links on this page.
  • To filter out 15 of the 16 contaminants in your whole house, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your home.
    • These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are much more effective.
    • They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
      • Bromodichloromethane
      • Chloroform
      • Chromium (total)
      • Fluoride
      • Haloacetic acids (HAA5 and HAA9) – byproducts of chlorination
      • Hexavalent chromium
      • Molybdenum
      • Strontium
      • Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination

In Your Community:

Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.

Go to: to find contact information for your local officials.

Water Quality in Other Illinois Cities

Illinois Water Quality Page

Sign In


Reset Password

Please enter your username or email address, you will receive a link to create a new password via email.