What is the Water Quality in Skokie, Illinois?
Compared to other US cities, Skokie water quality ranks in the middle range for contamination excluding Lead.
Most of their 25 contaminants have cancer-causing attributes.
- Chloroform is at extremely high levels: 30x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5) are at extremely high levels: 105x health guidelines.
- Haloacetic acids (HAA9) are at extremely high levels: 315x health guidelines.
- These are both byproducts of the chlorine treatment process most water supplies go through.
- Radium is at very high levels: 20x health guidelines.
Let’s look closer at what’s in Skokie water.
What’s in Skokie water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids (HAA5 and HAA9) – Potential effect: Cancer
- Radium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – 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 Skokie have Lead contamination?
Yes, Skokie has lead in its water. The most recent Lead samples collected from 2015 through 2017 showed concentrations up to 5.2 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 removed.
See the What Can You Do? section below to learn how to filter out contaminants.
Where does Skokie’s water come from?
Skokie’s water comes from the North Shore Channel watershed.
Both water sources in the North Shore Channel watershed are in Impaired condition. These are two sections of the North Shore Channel.
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of three uses:
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Skokie’s water.
What Can You Do?
Information about water quality in Skokie can be surprising.
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 90% of contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 23 of the 25 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
- 1,4-Dioxane – irritant of the eyes and respiratory tract. “Exposure may cause damage to the central nervous system, liver and kidneys.” (source)
- Haloacetic acids – byproduct of chlorination*
- Hexavalent chromium
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
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: http://www.skokie.org/ to find contact information for your local officials.