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Wauconda, IL

Image of a man pouring tap water into a glass.

Water in Wauconda, Illinois

Wauconda, IL gets its water supply from source water. Source water refers to water from streams, rivers, lakes or underground aquifers. Wauconda’s water comes from four groundwater aquifers using eight wells located within the Village limits. The wells pump ground water from the aquifers to one of six drinking water treatment plants.

From approximately 1955 to 1978, the Wauconda Sand and Gravel site operated as a waste landfill and received about three million cubic yards of waste that were placed in licensed and unlicensed areas of the property. In 1978, the site was closed and covered with clay, soil and vegetation. Testing found the groundwater was contaminated with metals and dangerous organic compounds and pesticides. The US EPA became involved in 1986 and placed an order to investigate and clean up the site. By 1987 cleanup was completed, but in 2003 testing of residential wells found vinyl chloride contamination in eighty-eight wells. In 2009, EPA and PRPs made legal agreement to proceed with additional work to ensure safety of drinking water. There was a complete review in 2013 which found the cleanup continues to protect people. The next scheduled review will be in 2017.



5 contaminants above legal limits.

In some states a small percentage of tests were performed before water was tested, and some contaminants were subsequently removed or diluted. As a result, some reported levels of contamination may be higher than were present at the tap. Results shown are based on individual samples and may not indicate a violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which often occurs only after prolonged tests show concentrations above a legal limit.

Barium (total)
Radium-226 and -228
Lead (total)
Maximum Result
3280 PPB
12.40 PCI/L
1680 PPB
68.6 PPB
Legal Limit

2 Contaminants below legal limits, but above health guidelines.

Alpha Particle Activity
Average Result
3.38 PCI/L
1.38 PCI/L
Health Limit

14 Contaminants found within health guidelines and legal limits.

Alpha Particle Activity (excl Radon & Uranium)
Arsenic (total)
Combined Uranium
Gross beta particle activity
Nitrate & Nitrite
Total Trihalomethanes
Average Result
4.70 PPB
0.06 PPB
0.00 PPB
0.50 PPB
1.25 PPB
0.42 PCI/L
0.50 PPB
10.60 PPB
6.55 PPM
0.01 PPB
0.01 PPB
20 PPB
497.41 PPB
2.25 PPB
Health Limit

*As reported by the NY Times Toxic Water Report.

Local Water Polluters near Wauconda, IL

Village of Wauconda STP (302 Slocum Lake Road, Wauconda, IL 60084) – 35 Violations

  • 2004 – 4 effluent violations
  • 2005 – 7 effluent violations and 7 permit violations
  • 2006 – 3 effluent violations
  • 2007 – 2 effluent violations, 3 compliance schedule violations, and 8 unrelated to permit violations
  • 2008 – 1 effluent violations

About Wauconda

Wauconda resides in Lake County, Illinois, approximately 37 miles northwest of the Loop. In 1863, Justus Bangs was interested in land located on the south side of what is now known as Bangs Lake. This land was located along a horse trail that ran from Chicago to Janesville – since the area lacked good transportation and fertile soil to support farming, Bangs supported his family be developing a mail carrying service that ran between Chicago and Janesville, which went right through his new settlement.

In 1839, a friend of the Bangs family names Andrew Cook moved to the settlement and built a cabin near the Bangs’ homestead. Together, Bangs and Cook designed and constructed the town’s first schoolhouse. Soon after, in the 1850s, the two men began plotting a village to help increase the interest in selling land in the area. The unincorporated town was named “Bangs Lake,” although many began to refer to it is “Wauconda,” for the lore that was associated with the area.

According to tradition, Wauconda was named for an Native American Chief by the same name who is rumored to be buried somewhere along the southern bank of Bangs Lake, located behind the current day town hall. When translated, the word “Wauconda” means “Spirit Water.” The first Wauconda town meeting was held on the first Tuesday of April in 1850, more than likely in the town’s “Old Tavern.”

Wauconda saw the majority of its economic growth between the 1840s and early 1850s but that growth began to slow. Due to the village’s stagnant development, the town was not formally incorporated until 1877. By 1910, Wauconda’s population had only reached 368 residents, but the area became well-known as a vacation spot. Blue-collar workers from Chicago and other, larger cities enjoyed visiting Bangs Lake and Wauconda to rent summer homes. This caused a small commercial center to develop.

The 1920s saw added expansion in the area with the surfacing of Rand Road and the migration of many World War II veterans to the area. Wauconda’s population in 1946 of 650 residents had almost doubled by 1952. While more permanent residents were moving the area, Wauconda and Lake Bangs remained a popular vacation spot through the 1960s. The beaches of Lake Bangs were memorialized in 1980 by the popular movie “Blues Brothers” and, by 2000, its population had risen to over 9,000 residents.

Image of a man pouring tap water into a glass.

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