Water Quality in Waukegan, Illinois
Watershed: Waukegan River – Frontal Lake Michigan
What is the water quality like in Waukegan, IL?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Waukegan water.
What’s in Waukegan water?
Here are the top 5 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Arsenic – Potential effect: Cancer
- Bromodichloromethane – Potential effect: Cancer
- Chloroform – Potential effect: Cancer
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are five of the 18 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
12 of these contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Waukegan’s water come from?
Waukegan’s water comes from the Waukegan River – Frontal Lake Michigan watershed.
All 24 EPA assessed water sources in the Waukegan River – Frontal Lake Michigan watershed are in Impaired or Unknown condition. These include:
- Bull Creek
- Dead Dog Creek
- Dead River
- Illinois Beach State Park – North and South
- Kellogg Creek
- Lake Bluff Beach
- Lake Forest Beach
- North Point Beach
- North Point Marina Harbor
- Lake Michigan
- Pettibone Creek
- Runway Bay
- Sand Pond
- South Branch Pettibone Creek
- South Branch Waukegan River
- Waukegan Harbor, Waukegan River, Waukegan North Beach and South Beach
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 these uses:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Waukegan’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.
In Your Household:
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 16 of the 18 contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 17 of the 18 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:
- Arsenic – health risks
- Barium – health risks in water
- Bromodichloromethane – health risks in drinking water
- Chloroform – side effects
- Dibromoacetic acid
- Dichloroacetic acid
- Haloacetic acids – chlorination byproduct*
- Hexavalent chromium – health effects
- Monobromoacetic acid
- Monochloroacetic acid
- Total trihalomethanes – byproduct of chlorination*
- Trichloroacetic acid
*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: https://waukeganil.gov/ to find contact information for your local officials.