Category Archives: Local Water

What Does Water Quality Testing Reveal About the Fox River?

Contaminants in the Fox River Make Water Quality Testing a Must for Your Water

Do you live near the Fox River in northwestern Chicagoland? If so, you probably know the river’s negative reputation. Many residents regard it as dirty and grimy. It supports wildlife and recreational activities, but you may not want to drink it, and you’ll definitely want a shower after touching it. Yet, thousands of people still get their drinking water from the Fox. So, what does water quality testing tell us about the river and any contaminants it may contain? Is it safe?

Water Quality Testing Reveals Many Contaminants

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency regularly conducts water quality testing in all the state’s lakes, rivers, and streams. It then publishes the results in a biennial Illinois Water Quality Report. The report includes detailed breakdowns of what contaminants are found, what segments of river or stream they’re found in, and potential sources. Here are just some of the contaminants that the Illinois EPA’s water quality testing has detected in the Fox River over the years:

  • Mercury—Toxic metal. Damages the nervous system causing shaking, tremors, pain, numbness, and other symptoms.
  • Phosphorus—Excessive levels of phosphorus have led to algal blooms in the region. The resulting cyanobacteria make the water smell and kill aquatic organisms.
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs)—These manufactured chemicals have been widely dumped into the environment. Studies show that PCBs impair neurological development in children. They also harm the reproductive and immune systems, disrupt the endocrine system, and may cause cancer.

    Infographic depicts locations along the Fox River and the contaminants it holds.
    Click for full size infographic
  • Fecal Bacteria—Potentially cause illness and affect swimming conditions.
  • Sediment—Negatively impacts clarity and potability of water.
  • Pesticides (hexachlorobenzene and methoxychlor)—Short-term exposure to high levels of hexachlorobenzene harms the nervous system, inducing tremors, convulsions, and weakness. It also causes liver problems. Exposure to methoxychlor in animals causes similar effects but there hasn’t been much research into human exposure.

Does Your Town Drink from the Fox?

So, does your drinking water originate in the Fox River? What towns get their water from the Fox?

As of 2012, the Fox River supplied over 330,000 people in Elgin and Aurora with drinking water. The water has also caused problems in both towns in the past. For example, in 2016 both Elgin and Aurora had to temporarily switch to using well water after residents complained of a foul taste and odor in the water. Algae had grown on the river and caused those issues, which then weren’t properly resolved with water treatment.

Other towns along the river may also use the Fox to fulfill a portion of their drinking water needs. Towns often tweak or renegotiate their water sourcing, so you should look for the most current information for your town. Check out our Local Water Information page to find information about your town’s water supply. Alternatively, give your city hall a call and inquire about water sourcing.

Get Water Quality Testing for Your Drinking Water

Knowing the water in the region has these sorts of contaminants, it’s important to take precautions to protect the health of you and your family. One important such measure is water quality testing.

Angel Water has been conducting thorough water quality testing in Barrington, IL and the Chicago area for many years. Our lab will tell you what’s in your water, and our qualified water professionals will advise you on what to do about it. Just give us a call at (847) 382-7800 and schedule water testing today!

Angel Water, Inc.
(847) 382-7800
28214 W Northwest Hwy
Barrington, IL 60010

How is Barrington Water Treated?

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.

Treatment of City Water by Angel Water Inc.
To see full-size, click image

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.
(847) 382-7800
214 S Hager Ave
Barrington, IL 60010

Water Filtering Systems:Providing Safer, Softer Water, for Life.

Chicago fails to warn citizens about lead in tap water

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.

Men work on outdated infrastructure. Image courtesy of Chicago Tribune.
Men work on outdated infrastructure. Image courtesy of Chicago Tribune.

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

Exposing Chicago to toxic lead

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.

Lead contamination in Chicago impacted low-income neighborhoods.
Lead contamination in Chicago impacted low-income neighborhoods.

“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.







Chicago residents exposed to lead contamination

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.

Lead contamination is liked to Chicago's water supply.
Lead contamination is liked to Chicago’s water supply.

Exposure to lead may cause:
• Brain damage in young children
• Lower IQ
• Learning disabilities
• Aggression
• Criminal behavior later in life
• Legionaries disease
• Seizure

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.

Q&A with Janet Agnoletti from BACOG

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.

Janet Agnoletti of BACOG
Janet Agnoletti of BACOG

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

Should I filter my water?

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.

Your water filter from Angel Water will remove contaminants, bacteria and hardness.
Your water filter from Angel Water will remove contaminants, bacteria and hardness.

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, 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.

This picture shows the microscopic organisms that get trapped in your water filter.
This picture shows the microscopic organisms that get trapped in your water filter.

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.

Lead and Drinking Water in Private Wells

After an increase in cases of lead poisoning in children who live in Flint, Michigan, a state of emergency has been declared. Although these cases cause serious concern, there is a solution to prevent lead from creeping in to your water supply.

What is Lead?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), lead is bluish-gray metal found in small amounts on the earth’s outer layer. Lead can be found in all parts of our environment. Much of it comes from human activities including burning fossil fuels, mining, and manufacturing.

Lead Exposure2

How does lead infiltrate your water supply?
The biggest culprit in contaminating the water supply is lead pipes. Other sources of contamination include lead solder used to join copper pipes, brass in faucets, coolers, and valves. Brass generally contains low lead levels, however the lead can still dissolve into the water.

How does Angel Water remove lead from the water supply?
There are numerous ways to remove lead from your water supply and there are many factors to consider when doing so. One of the first things to think about is if your water supply comes from city water or well water.

Once that is assessed, Angel Water will decide if lead can be removed from your system by flushing it. If your water is severely contaminated, installing a reverse osmosis system can remove lead from your water supply.

Why should I be concerned?
An article from the Huffington Post emphasizes how the long-term consequences of lead poisoning can harm children on a physical and psychological level. Some of those problems include:

• Kidney dysfunction
• High blood pressure
• Behavioral disorders

Is there lead in my drinking water?
One of the most effective ways to find out if there is lead in your drinking water is to schedule a water test with Angel Water Inc. We can be contacted at 847-382-7800 or through our Facebook Page.

Our water tests are performed by trained professionals and will help you identify what’s in your water. Once we know what’s in your water, we can help remove any contaminants or impurities.

Is Reverse Osmosis the Best Water?

At Angel Water, we believe the best water comes from a reverse osmosis water filtration system. A reverse osmosis system from Angel Water removes up to 97 percent of impurities and remineralizes the water when the filtration cycle is complete. Installing a reverse osmosis system creates the best water for you and enables optimum hydration.

Why is Reverse Osmosis the best?


Better Than Bottled
By ensuring quality and removing toxins, Reverse Osmosis water lessens the dependence consumers have on plastic water bottles. Most often, people use plastic water bottles to avoid contaminants like lead and arsenic. Both are removed through the process of reverse osmosis along with a need for plastic water bottles and unnecessary waste.

Best tasting water
According to the National Rural Water Association, lead, iron and nitrates often make tap water unpalatable. While most reverse osmosis systems strip the water of necessary minerals, our filtration process puts the necessary amount of magnesium and calcium back into the water, ensuring the best taste.

Safe for compromised immune systems
By removing toxins and reinfusing essential minerals, reverse osmosis water is safe for people with compromised immune systems. For people who have been diagnosed with autoimmune disease, cancer or multiple sclerosis reverse osmosis water can ensure optimum hydration in the body and ease the physical stress of chronic disease.

Why our reverse osmosis water is different
Besides retaining the utmost quality and long lasting service, Angel Water strives to educate and empower customers on the choices they make. Our water educators work to provide customers with enough information and education to help them make the best choice for their lifestyle. We promise a 10-year guarantee for all products purchased as well as the peace of mind that goes with it.

By making a long-term investment with Angel Water, you can improve the quality of your life and prevent health-related problems in the future.

Angel Water
214 S Hager Ave
Barrington, IL 60010
(847) 382-7800

BACOG and Barbara Mahler talk coal tar sealant

Did you know coal tar sealant can harm  aquatic life near you?

According to Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) coal tar based sealcoat, the black sealant on top of driveways and asphalt, has been identified as a major source for carcinogens and is toxic to aquatic life.

On Wednesday, October 14, 2015 The Barrington Area of Council Governments (BACOG) will be hosting Dr. Barbara J. Mahler to speak on the topic of tar sealants. Dr. Mahler has researched and authored many articles about coal tar.

Picture courtesy of Reis Asphalt
Picture courtesy of Reis Asphalt

She will discuss the body of research on coal tar and PAHs and their consequences on human and environmental health. Her findings are backed by the U.S. EPA and reveal why levels of toxicity found in driveways and parking lots contribute to water pollution.

[youtube id=”g4S1aBBovf0″ align=”center”]

According to the EPA:

  • Coal-tar sealcoat typically contains 20 to 35 percent coal tar pitch, a byproduct of the steel manufacturing industry
  • The amount of PAHs in stormwater runoff was 65 times higher from parking lots sealed with coal-tar sealant vs. stormwater from unsealed parking lots
  • The runoff water flows into drains and consequently ends up in lakes, ponds and streams
  • The District of Columbia banned the sale and useof coal-tar sealcoat in 2009
  • Washington State banned the sale of coal-tar pavement sealants on January 1, 2012

Alternative solutions to coal-tar sealcoat are possible. The EPA suggests pavement options such as pervious concrete, permeable asphalt and paver systems. Each of those do not require sealants and allow stormwater to absorb water and decrease runoff.

In the past industry lobbyists and some local businesses have  disputed USGS studies. They argue that  PAHs are present in multiple substances, so why ban just one?  Others believe that if coal tar products were , the federal government would ban them nationwide.

The presentation is being co-sponsored by BACOG and Citizens for Conservation. Please join BACOG and CFC for this presentation on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Barrington Village Hall, 2nd Floor.

Angel Water Inc.
214 S Hager Ave
Barrington, IL 60010