In this interview, Andrew tells us all about many of the most common contaminants found in drinking water in the Chicago area and the nation at large. He also discusses one solution for keeping your drinking water safe—reverse osmosis systems. Andrew gives us a rundown of how they work, how much they cost, and what to look for when choosing one. Don’t miss this interview with Mr. Angel Water himself!
If you live in Chicago, your city has lied to you about lead in your water. Several years ago, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel rushed construction projects that involved replacing water mains and meters. This disrupted the protective sheathing inside outdated lead service lines. As a result, the EPA found that lead has been leaching into people’s drinking water. The city failed to tell residents the risks these projects posed, and the water commissioner told aldermen there was nothing to worry about. Don’t trust the city—keep yourself safe with a lead-removing filtration system from Angel Water.
Wells are the natural way to get water, so it must be clean and healthy, right? Wrong! Well water doesn’t go through a water treatment plant like municipal water. That means it might contain contaminants like volatile organic compounds, coliform bacteria, lead, and other toxins. Municipal sources disinfect their water with chlorine, so you need well water chlorination to fill that role. Get your water tested at Angel Water and invest in a chlorinator so that your well water is safe and clean!
If you have dry, itchy skin or frizzy hair, it may be because your water has high water hardness or chlorine levels. Water hardness is a measure of the presence of certain minerals, which not only dry out skin and scalp, but can also cause eczema with childhood exposure. Around 85% of Americans have hard water in their homes. Chlorine, which is added to municipal water as a disinfectant, can also cause rashes, acne, and eczema, because it kills the good bacteria in our skin.
Barrington alone supplies water to over 10,000 residents and businesses. In doing so, over 1.5 million gallons of water gets pumped every day. The water is provided from 4 large wells which draw from an underground aquifer. Once the water is pulled from the wells it goes to a village-owned water treatment plant where it is processed to reduce iron and help prevent rust stains. After treatment, the water is moved into one of 6 reservoirs used to store the water before it gets delivered. Before arriving to your sink, the water travels through 90 miles of service lines. The city water really seems to go through a lot of processing to ensure our water is clean. However, there are some things you should be aware of once the water reaches your faucet.
Many things can hide in your water and, potentially, cause you harm. The contaminants in city water are only dangerous at high levels and the city is required to measure the level of each contaminant within the water. However, these levels often exceed the EPA’s Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG). Here are a few contaminants which have been found at high levels in Barrington’s city water along with impacts they can have on you and your health.
Arsenic: This is an inorganic that can cause skin damage or problems with circulatory systems, and may increase the risk of cancer.
Iron: Another inorganic that causes increased energy consumption, damage to plumbing, appliances and clothing.
Trihalomethanes: This is a disinfectant which is added to the city water to kill bacteria. It can cause Liver, kidney or central nervous system problems along with an increased risk of cancer.
Alpha Emitters and Radium: These are radionuclides which are usually naturally occurring. The increase the risk of cancer. And can be inhaled as well as consumed.
It can be quite alarming to learn that your everyday drinking water is contaminated. However, there are steps that you can take to ensure that your drinking water is safe along with your family’s well-being. Installing the following systems in your home will help keep out any type of contaminant.
Water Softeners: These help combat water hardness. Barrington’s water hardness level is 23gpg which is rated extremely high by the USGS.
Reverse Osmosis: This product does an exceptional job at removing any inorganics found in the water.
Whole House Filters: These Filters are great for an extra protection layer for any radionuclides that are left in the water.
It is important to know what is in your drinking water. If you have any questions or concerns about your Barrington water or if you would like to get a water treatment system installed in your home call Angel Water today!
For a full-size high-quality infographic visit:
Angel Water, Inc.
214 S Hager Ave
Barrington, IL 60010
Two years ago, federal researchers found high levels of lead in homes where water mains had been replaced or new meters had been installed. Residents were not warned about the threats these construction projects pose, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel plans for more construction projects across Chicago.
According to the Chicago Tribune, researchers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found that alarming levels of brain-damaging metal can flow out of household faucets for years after construction work disrupts service lines that connect buildings to the city’s water system. Nearly 80 percent of the properties in Chicago are hooked up to service lines made of lead.
The study also found the city’s testing protocols are very likely to miss high concentrations of lead in drinking water.
The city has issued letters alerting residents about the construction projects. These letters do not mention the hazards these construction projects pose or the harms that may be done to them by lead. The letters simply advise residents to flush faucets and house taps for several minutes after work has been completed to remove contaminants.
The EPA says this suggestion is “grossly inadequate”.
Besides the threat of new construction projects taking place across the city, Chicago is using corrosion-fighting chemicals to form a protective coating inside outdated pipes.
Instead of alerting citizens that they could be exposed to a deadly neuro-toxin, according to the tribune, city officials have repeatedly assured elected officials that their water is safe and there is nothing to worry about.
Thomas Powers, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Water Management, wrote in a October 2013 letter to aldermen in response to the EPA study. “Chicago water is absolutely safe to drink and meets or exceeds all standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois EPA.”
Protect yourself by purchasing an NSF certified water filter or by installing devices in your home that are capable of removing lead. For more information, visit Angel Water’s webpage
What happens when an entire generation is exposed to toxic lead?
Multiple studies have linked lead exposure in early childhood to violent crime later in life. With the water main construction projects in Chicago disturbing lead pipes and the epidemic of contaminated water in Flint, MI, lead contamination is not a thing of the past but rather, a serious issue of present times.
“It creates a social context where kids are at a clear disadvantage,” said Robert J. Sampson, a Harvard University researcher who has been studying Chicago for more than two decades.
In an investigative report from 2013, reporter Kevin Drum highlights economic and social trends that may be linked to the crime epidemics and unwanted pregnancies of the 1980’s and 90’s. The trend affected major cities like New York, Dallas, New Orleans and Los Angeles.
Drum analyzed financial disparity, drug addictions, incarceration rates and race, but only one thing remained consistent: the presence of tetraethyl lead.
Lead Contamination in present times
According to the Chicago Tribune, children in the neighborhoods of Austin, Englewood and Lawndale are subject to higher rates of lead contamination than those living in more affluent areas of Chicago.
Since consumption of lead in early childhood is linked to brain damage, poor attention span and inability to regulate emotions, researchers believe consumption of lead is also linked to violent crime later in life.
“People in neighborhoods like Englewood have faced multiple assaults over a different period of time- job losses, segregation, housing discrimination,” said Sampson. “When I see astounding levels of lead poisoning in these communities, it makes complete sense that it is part of the cycle of deprivation.”
Combating Lead Contamination
Combating lead contamination at home is possible with the help of Reverse Osmosis. A reverse osmosis water filtration system can remove any unwanted chemicals or toxins from your water while simultaneously providing optimum hydration.
According to a new federal study, the clean-up efforts of Chicago’s water supply are revealing dangerously high levels of lead. Contamination has appeared in homes where pipes were disturbed by street work. These attempts to modernize outdated infrastructure may pose a health risk.
The health threat comes from lead service lines that were installed during the 1980s to connect water mains with homes. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whenever water main replacements, meter installations and street work occur, lead may contaminate the water supply.
Exposure to lead may cause:
• Brain damage in young children
• Lower IQ
• Learning disabilities
• Criminal behavior later in life
• Legionaries disease
Lead contamination may still occur in the water supply even years after the construction has ceased. Most people are unaware about the contamination because the municipal water supplier is not required to inform residents that work is being done and it may impact their well-being.
Any amount of lead in the water supply represents a serious danger to consumers since the EPA and Centers for Disease Control both say there is no safe level of exposure. According to the Chicago Tribune, lead has been phased out of gasoline, removed from paint and banned in children’s toys.
The problem of outdated infrastructure plagues more than just the city of Chicago. In New Jersey, 205,607 children were last year and 837 of those children tested positive for lead. Flint, MI is also facing a lead contamination crisis as the majority of residents have come in contact with contaminated water amount of residents do not have clean water.
“We owe it to the people to tell them that their water might not be safe to drink,” said Marc Edwards, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech University.
Since 2001 the Barrington Area Council of Governments (BACOG) has been researching and exploring ground water. This interview with Janet Agnoletti talks about how the Barrington area can protect their groundwater and the importance of water testing.
What is the purpose of BACOG?
BACOG focuses on regional planning, legislative work, management of development and land use, and the protection of environmental resources. The importance of groundwater was unexplored when I started as an executive director back in 2000.
Our education goes to help people understand where their water comes from and how it’s part of a bigger aquifer system.
Where does the Barrington area’s groundwater come from?
It comes from an interconnected system of shallow aquifers located underground. The Barrington area water does not come from a river, a stream or a lake below ground. Groundwater flows through soil materials that were left by the last glaciers that were here. That helps contribute to the good water quality we have.
What’s the best piece of advice you would give someone who wants to protect and maintain their well?
In all the Barrington communities there are 35,000 people within 80 square miles, nearly all of whom use water from shallow aquifers. Out of that there are 8 municipal wells, 6 of them in shallow aquifers, as well as a handful of deep aquifer wells used for irrigation or other purposes.
The best piece of advice I would give to private well owners is to test for nitrates and bacteria once a year. The homeowner is responsible for the quality of their water even if there is no legal requirement. Some people are aware of it but they don’t test regularly.
Anytime you open the well column or have plumbing work done, make sure to test your water. That activity may introduce bacteria into the well column.
What are some water problems that impact the Barrington area?
Our aquifers are loaded with iron. It won’t hurt you but it stains fixtures and is aesthetically unappealing.
Where can residents test their water?
Residents can test their water through Angel Water and BACOG water testing events. For more information on water testing visit angelwater.com.
Should you filter your water? The New York Times says yes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the water that comes out of your tap, but that doesn’t mean consumers know what’s in it. According to The New York Times, regulations are often pushed to the limits, making a water filter the safest choice for anyone who uses a faucet.
According to Paul Pesanto, a research analyst with the Environmental Working Group, there are guidelines to what can be put into your water but those guidelines are not closely regulated.
What’s in your water?
The best way to protect yourself from harmful contaminants is to learn what’s in your water. The first way to do this is to check out what kind of water problems plague your region. Having your water tested on a yearly basis can help prevent illness
Other things that might be in your water include arsenic, hormones, E. coli, nitrates, antibiotics, barium, radon, salt, chlorine, pesticides, herbicides, chromium, hardness and copper.
Why is filtering water important?
According to allaboutwater.org, there are more than 2,100 known drinking water contaminants that may be present in tap water. These contaminants have been linked to respiratory illness, cognitive and behavioral disorders and cancer.
According to the New York Times a water filter will also protect you from like lead from old water pipes, pesticide runoff in rural areas and byproducts of chemicals like chlorine that are used to treat drinking water.
Using the right filter
At Angel Water, our filters are NSF certified making them the most reliable and safe water filter on the market. Our filters are capable of removing antibiotics, hormones and pesticides that may be a byproduct of surface runoff water.
What does NSF mean?
Choosing a product certified by NSF lets you know the company complies with strict standards and procedures imposed by NSF. From extensive product testing and material analyses to unannounced plant inspections, every aspect of a product’s development is thoroughly evaluated before it can earn our certification.