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Too much lead in the human body can cause serious damage to the brain, nervous system and red blood cells In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water above the action level can result in delays in physical and mental development.
Elgin, IL gets its water from source water. Source water includes lakes, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, springs, underground aquifers and wells. Elgin’s source water comes from the Fox River and is distributed throughout five wells.
Elgin began as a community water supplier in the late 1880’s. From that time, the Fox River was used as the source of all drinking water.
Inorganic contaminants can contaminate source water from the erosion of natural deposits. These contaminants can produce adverse health effects. Factories that produce fertilizers, aluminum, electronics, glass, metal or petroleum refineries and private septic systems and waste water treatment plants can produce discharges into the Fox River.
Click on each pollution source to see from which source contaminants come.
Runoff and Sprawl
Water contaminants may come from more than one source.
Elgin resides in Kane County, Illinois, approximately 35 miles northwest of the Loop. Prior to settlers populating the area, the future site of the town was well known by Potawatomi Indians. The Fox River runs through this territory and the Indian tribes were able to successfully fish and safely cross the river in this area many different times throughout the year, making it a popular site of land for them to settle.
In 1833, a man by the name of Hezekiah Gifford gave the town of Elgin its name after the Black Hawk War. By 1837, the settlement had already erected a bridge and two mills and was beginning to become an important stop along the area’s stagecoach route from the Galena Mines to Chicago. Later, in 1849, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad reached the town of Elgin that would later be served by railroads on both banks of the Fox River and would connect a growing Chicago to urban areas.
The town of Elgin showed tremendous growth during the 1850s, with the Elgin Academy being founded in 1856. The town continued to prosper throughout the 1860s, quickly becoming an industrial center – the swift, powerful flowing water of the Fox River attracted many industries and the area even became a prominent manufacturer of military products during the Civil War. The most noted of these industrial ventures was the Elgin National Watch Company that was founded during this time of prosperity.
Elgin attracted a number of different industries, including a condensed milk factory, shoe manufacturers, and a number of different mill facilities. With the growth of industry from 1870 to 1890, the population of Elgin more than tripled in size from 5,441 residents at almost 18,000. By this time, the city was divided into seven wards and had expanded far past its original territory. The area also attracted a major state establishment in 1872, the opening of the Northern Illinois State Mental Hospital.
Elgin continued to grow, although modestly, through the twentieth century and today the town expands far, far beyond its origins and has seen additional growth along Interstate 90 to the north of the area. While most of the heavy industry has disappeared over the years, Elgin has seen moderate prosperity as a commuter center and has become a popular area for corporations such as Bank One and Motorola. Additionally, Elgin has redeveloped its downtown area with the opening of the Grand Victoria Casino.
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