Water in St. Charles, IL
St. Charles Water Needs Improvement
The Good News is You Can Protect Your Health!
Is St. Charles water safe to drink? Recent studies by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that consuming the water in St. Charles could harm your health. The tests also reveal the presence of hardness minerals in the water, which can create costly problems for homeowners.
What can residents of St. Charles do about these issues? Read on to discover:
- Where St. Charles water comes from
- The contaminants likely present in your water
- How to prevent these impurities from damaging your home and health
- The products and services Angel Water provides to help St. Charles residents
Where Does St. Charles, IL Water Come From?
St. Charles gets its water from two aquifers. An aquifer is an area underground that contains a large amount of groundwater. St. Charles accesses the water from these aquifers by pumping it out with seven water supply wells. The city then stores the water in six storage reservoirs, where it is chlorinated and fluoridated per local and federal government requirements.
Although St. Charles water receives municipal treatment, this is not nearly enough to keep the water contaminant-free. The water collects a wide range of contaminants from the earth and human pollution, and only advanced filtration technology can handle the wide array of impurities. The city provides more information on this in its yearly water quality report.
St. Charles works hard to provide the best possible water for its residents. In 2018, it developed a 10-year plan to work toward achieving this goal. Still, in the meantime, it’s up to residents to take the safety of their water into their own hands.
Is St. Charles Water Hard?
Yes, the water in St. Charles, IL, is very hard. The local government reports that some areas of the city have a hardness level of 11 grains per gallon (gpg) while others have as much as 28 gpg. For reference, any water with a hardness level of over 10.5 gpg is considered very hard.
Because of this, St. Charles residents likely experience many unfortunate hard water symptoms in their homes. Some of the most common problems include:
- Splotchy dishes and glassware
- Dry and irritated skin after showering
- Brittle and fizzy hair after showering
- Discoloration and damage to laundry
- Excessive wear and tear on water-using appliances like water heaters and dishwashers
- Difficult-to-clean brown stains in toilet bowls
This problem is by no means unique to St. Charles. Instead, towns and cities throughout the Northern Illinois region suffer from hard water. Because of this, we often prescribe water softeners to help our customers in the Chicago suburbs get the soft water they deserve. Please check out the section below on selecting a water softener to learn more.
What’s in St. Charles Drinking Water?
A recent examination from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that the City of St. Charles, IL has many contaminants in its drinking water.
None of the recorded totals for these pollutants exceed the limits put in place by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health. However, as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) points out, many of these health guidelines are woefully outdated and not nearly strict enough.
For this reason, the EWG has created its own health guidelines for water contamination. Many of the pollutants detected in St. Charles exceed these limits. You can view those totals in the chart below.
This chart shows data for drinking water in Saint Charles, IL, which was collected between 2014-2020:
|Arsenic||0.0577 ppb||0.004 ppb|
|Haloacetic Acids (HAA9)||9.35 ppb||0.06 ppb|
|Radium-226 and 228||2.20 pCi/L||0.05 pCi/L|
|Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)||18.3 ppb||0.15 ppb|
Below we have included more information on each of these contaminants and others detected in St. Charles water.
Arsenic can infiltrate the drinking water through natural, industrial, and agricultural sources. The EWG states that while arsenic is most prevalent in western states, it also causes problems in the Midwest and the Northeast.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Health Organization call arsenic a “known human carcinogen.” Arsenic, in high concentrations, increases the risk of cancer in the bladder, lungs, and skin. It can also cause skin lesions, damage the kidneys, and contribute to cardiovascular disease.
The Haloacetic Acids are a group of nine disinfectant byproducts that often result from water receiving chlorine and chloramine treatment. All St. Charles water receives chlorine treatment before being dispersed for public use. So, it’s no wonder the region has a high amount of these pollutants.
Not only does the EWG report on the whole group of acids, but it also gives individual totals for each of the acids. Three of these acids exceed the EWG recommended health limits. They are:
- Dibromoacetic Acid
- Dichloroacetic Acid
- Trichloroacetic Acid
Tests also detected a significant amount of monobromoacetic acid. However, this contaminat did not exceed the EWG’s guidelines.
The presence of these acids in St. Charles water is a reason for concern as they have been linked to cancer, developmental disorders in young children and pregnancy problems.
Radium-226 and -228
The two most common forms of radium are radium-226 and radium-228. Depending on the city, they can be reported together or separately. The EWG lists the levels in St. Charles together.
These contaminants form naturally in the earth’s crust, which is where they infiltrate the aquifers that supply St. Charles water.
Radium in drinking water can increase the chance of developing bone and other cancers. It also increases the chances of kidney damage and congenital defects.
In St. Charles, the levels of total trihalomethanes are also alarmingly high. The total trihalomethanes are chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane, and bromoform.
These chemicals come from byproducts of disinfectants put into the water. They can increase the risk of bladder cancer and problems during pregnancies, including spontaneous miscarriage and low birth weight.
Other Contaminants Detected
Beyond the contaminants listed above, the EWG also reports that the region’s water contains significant amounts of the following impurities:
- Carbon tetrachloride
- Hexavalent Chromium
- Nitrate and Nitrite
- And more
Even though none of these pollutants exceed health guidelines, any amount of pollution is reason for concern. They have all been linked to significant health problems.
To learn more about all these contaminants, please visit the EWG’s St. Charles page.
How Can St. Charles Residents Protect Their Heath?
As you can see, the drinking water in Saint Charles, IL, is far from completely safe to drink. Nevertheless, you can still get the clean water you need in St. Charles.
The key is to invest in the right water treatment equipment. You can do this by following the four simple steps we have laid out below:
Step 1: Test Your Water
It may seem strange to test your water when you’ve already seen the test results for St. Charles listed above. However, testing the water in your home is still necessary because the type and amount of contamination can vary from home to home. And knowing exactly what you’re dealing with is crucial for picking the right equipment.
The best way to do this is getting an EPA-certified water test. This official test will give you trustworthy results. A licensed expert can help you understand the results and provide guidance for the next steps to take.
Step 2: Learn About An NSF/ANSI 58 Certified Reverse Osmosis System
Since we don’t know what’s in your water yet, we can’t tell you the system you should choose. However, what we can say is a reverse osmosis (RO) system is the filter of choice for many St. Charles residents. This is because it’s the best filter for getting rid of many common contaminants, including:
- Haloacetic Acids
- Hexavalent Chromium
- Radium-226 and -228
- Total Trihalomethanes
- And more!
If you choose to go with an RO system, make sure you pick one that is NSF/ANSI 58 certified. This certification guarantees that the system lives up to the manufacturer’s promises. For this reason, NSF certified products are the most trustworthy on the market.
Step 3: Look Into an NSF/ANSI 44 Certified Water Softener
The water test will also reveal if you have hard water. If you do, then a salt-based water softener is an excellent option for getting you the soft water you deserve.
These devices work by removing the calcium and magnesium minerals that cause hard water from the water droplet. The resulting soft water won’t cause any of the pesky hard water problems listed above.
If you go with a softener, make sure you check that it’s NSF/ANSI 44 certified. This certification guarantees that the system will effectively soften your water and eliminate harmful contaminants like barium and radium-226 and -228.
Step 4: Have Your Equipment Professionally Installed and Maintained
Professional installation is the best way to ensure your water treatment products will give you great results for a long time. Furthermore, Illinois law requires that a licensed plumber install all residential water treatment equipment. So, make sure the people installing and maintaining your system knows what they’re doing to protect your investment.
Get Better Water in St. Charles Today!
We hope this guide has helped you see that you have the power to get the clean water you deserve in St. Charles. We at Angel Water would love to support you in this mission. Our team of licensed experts regularly performs EPA-certified water tests and installs water treatment equipment in St. Charles.Tell Us How We Can Help!
Please call us today at 847-382-7800
or fill out the form below to talk with an expert or schedule a free consultation!