ROCKTON, Ill. (WTVO) — Word came out a few weeks ago about high levels of so-called “forever chemicals” in well water in a Rockford neighborhood.

Another Winnebago County community is now being warned about PFAS. The neighborhood is near Chemtool and the Beloit Corporation.

The only relation between the two is that the county was testing the area for volatile organic compounds after Chemtool and just decided to test for PFAS as well.

While there is not a root to the problem yet, it is not stopping folks from trying to find a solution.

“We approach this in a way that makes it affordable, is part of a larger plan to ensure safe drinking water to the region,” said Dr. Sandra Martell, public health administrator for Winnebago County.

Winnebago County health officials are now urging residents in the Wright Kiles Blackhawk subdivision in Rockton Township to find ways of reducing PFAS exposure. It is the second neighborhood in Winnebago County to receive this message.

“It is not an easy solution, but there are steps that can be taken in the short term and the intermediate, which some of the more simple things like using a water filtration kind of system, it could be as simple as a water pitcher,” Martell said. “Then, making the longer-range plans to connect to city or municipal water sources.”

the subdivision is adjacent to the former Chemtool and Beloit Corporation. City officials have been testing the area since 2021.

“On the estimates, you know, 20 to $25,000,” Martell said. “And we understand that that’s a huge financial risk, but we also know that we’ve got to start making sure and making a plan for those homes.”

PFAS are made up of more than 9,000 different chemicals. None of the chemicals are related to each other in terms of showing up in high amounts in the same areas.

“We call elected officials to support us with grant funding for our infrastructure related to water, then we look potentially at other sources of funding, special assessments, leveraging every kind of dollar we have in our community to really maintain and build an infrastructure to ensure that every resident has a safe source of drinking water that’s affordable for them,” Martell said.

There will be a community open house on April 25, hosted by the Winnebago County Health Department. A location will be announced at a later date.

More information on PFAS and how to reduce exposure can be found here.