Illinois moves to limit toxic forever chemicals in wells

Illinois is moving to join 10 other states that limit toxic forever chemicals in underground sources of water. [Chicago Tribune 3.9.2024]

Regulations unveiled Wednesday by the Illinois Pollution Control Board are intended to protect millions of people from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS, some of which build up in human blood, cause cancer and other diseases and take years to leave the body.

Nearly 300,000 Illinoisans rely on utilities where PFAS in well water exceed the state’s proposed standards, according to a Chicago Tribune analysis of testing conducted between 2020 and 2022. Chicago-area communities with contaminated wells include Fox Lake, Lake In The Hills, Marengo, Rockdale, South Elgin and Sugar Grove.

It is unknown how many of the 1.4 million people in the state who depend on private wells are drinking PFAS-contaminated water. The Tribune reported last year that state officials had decided it is up to individual well owners to have their water tested.