Did you know rain and flooding flushes sewage into your drinking water? Flash floods just hit towns throughout Lake, McHenry, and Cook counties. Flooding in the Chicago region leads to waterways overflowing. Sewage spills into Lake Michigan and other waterways we drink from. Protect your health from this contamination—consider one of Angel Water’s home water filtration systems.

Floods Mean Sewage in Your Water—Unless You Install Home Water Filtration Systems

Photo of a woman in a raincoat looking at a flooded neighborhood.

Can rainfall contaminate your drinking water? With flash floods hitting the Chicago area yesterday and today, that’s a distinct possibility we have to consider. Let’s take a look at what happened, how it can affect your water supply, and how home water filtration systems can protect you from the consequences.

How Extensive was Flooding in the Chicago Metropolitan Area?

Yesterday, on July 11, 2017, torrential rains hit Lake County and spread southward through the Chicago area. In Mundelein, National Weather Service observers reported 8-10 inches of flooding. Many homes flooded, and rescue personnel used rafts to evacuate residents of several apartment buildings.

The rain hit many other towns throughout the area as well. Here are some highlights:

  • Round Lake Park, Lake Bluff, Lake Villa, and Fox Lake experienced between 4 and 8 inches of rain.
  • Lake Forest and Highland Park closed down heavily flooded roads and intersections. Motorists nevertheless attempted to pass through standing water, causing their cars to stall.
  • Gurnee issued an emergency flood response statement instructing residents of what precautions to take.
  • Riverwoods is supplying sandbags to residents along the Des Plaines River as they expect floodwaters coming downriver to reach them tonight.
  • Waukegan city spokesman David Motley said “all manner of cars” stalled attempting to cross floodwaters. Waukegan’s Public Works interim director Mike Hewitt said if the rain doesn’t let up, it could be a repeat of 20 years ago, when flooding undercut a road and lifted it away, destroying it.

Flash flood warnings are still in effect today in Lake and McHenry counties as well as Chicago proper.

How Does Flooding Affect Chicago’s Drinking Water?

Like many large cities throughout the world, Chicago operates on a combined wastewater collection system. Rainwater and sanitary sewage flows are combined in a single pipe network. This used to be extremely common, as engineers didn’t begin developing modern waste management practices until just the past 50 years.

The problem with this system is when heavy rain hits, sanitary waste overflows into the surrounding waterways. This has become increasingly frequent as Chicago continues to develop. The more land is covered in nonpermeable concrete and manmade structures, the more water has nowhere to go without soil to soak it up. Overflow events become more common, and sewage is spilled into Lake Michigan nearly 100 days out of every year.

Chicago reversed the flow of the Chicago River in 1900 to direct sewage away from Lake Michigan, where we get our drinking water. Now, a new and equally ambitious project is necessary to prevent sewage from reaching the lake. This is the Deep Tunnel.

First commissioned in 1975, the Deep Tunnel is one of the largest such projects ever undertaken. The tunnel system is planned to be 130 miles long, with diameters from 9 to 33 feet, drilled through rock 150 to 350 feet below the city. It will hold up to 41 billion gallons of rainwater during storms, after which the water will be pumped to treatment plants.

However, so far only the first 31-mile-long section of the Deep Tunnel has been opened. It’s not expected to be complete until 2029, with a total cost of $10.4 billion. In the meantime, floods continue to flush sewage into Lake Michigan, where towns from Chicago to Palatine to Naperville get their drinking water.

Home Water Filtration Systems Eliminate the Contamination

The Deep Tunnel will be a great solution to the pollution flooding causes once it’s done. Unfortunately, that won’t be for another 12 years, assuming it’s completed on schedule. Right now, the best way to deal with the issue is home water filtration systems.

Sewage in your water source and lead in your service lines will negatively impact the health of you and your family. Home water filtration systems will remove contaminants at the point of use, ensuring clean water at every fixture in your home.

Angel Water has been installing and maintaining home water filtration systems in Barrington, IL and the Chicago area for years, and can handle all your water needs. Give us a call at (847) 382-7800 for a consultation today!


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