Oak Park, Illinois
What is the Water Quality in Oak Park, Illinois?
Compared to other US cities over 50,000, Oak Park water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 25 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes. Radium is at high levels: 13x health guidelines.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Oak Park water.
What’s in Oak Park water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 25 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
13 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
Does Oak Park have Lead contamination?
Yes, Oak Park has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2015 through 2017 showed concentrations up to 3.6 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 Oak Park’s water come from?
Oak Park’s water comes from the Maple Lake – Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal watershed.
9 of the 10 water sources in the Maple Lake – Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Calumet Sag Channel
- Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
- Division Pond
- Farrell Pond
- Fiddyment Creek
- Fraction Run
- Illinois & Michigan Canal
- North Fraction Run
Ideally, all water sources would be rated in Good condition. Only one water source is currently in good condition. This is Deep Run Creek.
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Oak Park’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Oak Park can be surprising and downright scary.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your home as well as things you can do at a community level.
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out at least 68% of the contaminants in your drinking water. This includes Radium and Barium
- To filter out 22 of the 25 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are typically more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but are much more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- Chromium (hexavalent)
- Chromium (total)
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: https://www.oak-park.us/ to find contact information for your local officials.