Don’t drink well water, heath officials say after Rockton tests reveal dangerous heavy metals

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Winnebago County Health Director Dr. Sandra Martell warned Rockton residents against drinking well water until tests for heavy metals are returned from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

Martell said wells around the Chemtool plant, at 1165 Prairie Hill Road, have been tested and revealed elevated levels of heavy metals in the groundwater.

She did not confirm the contamination was related to the Chemtool fire on June 14th, saying that there were other factors that could be responsible, but testing is ongoing.

The samples were collected from 16 out of 20 wells used to monitor area groundwater around the Beloit Corporation Superfund Site.

Martell said the testing wells do not serve area residents, who are hooked up to the Village of Rockton municipal water supply.

She said the tests found antimony, cadmium, chromium, and nickel, that exceeded levels of groundwater standards.

Martell said residents with private wells should refrain from drinking water supplied by a private well until testing can be performed.

“You should not ingest this water. You should not use it for cooking, or brushing your teeth,” Martell said.

Martell said well water can be used for showering, watering the lawn, or washing clothes.

The IEPA, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Winnebago County Health Department are testing private wells in the Blackhawk neighborhood near the monitor wells.

The Village of Rockton says the municipal water supply has not been affected.

The presence of heavy metals in water can accumulate in the body over time if consumed, and lead to detrimental effect for the brain and nervous system.

Residents can email with questions or concerns.

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