County Hopes to Re-Sample 75 Shallow Wells To Inventory Water Quality

County Hopes to Re-Sample 75 Shallow Wells To Inventory Water Quality

Kane County is hoping to work with with the Illinois State Water Survey to resample the water in 75 shallow wells to see how water quality and water aquifer levels have changed over the past 12 years.

The ISWS sampled 75 shallow wells in Kane County in 2003, and the proposal is to resample those same 75 wells, Water Resources Division Assistant Director Jodie Wollnik said.

“We’ll be looking at many different parameters, including arsenic, to see if there is an upward trend,” she said.

In October, Kane County Health Department testing in the Gilberts and Elgin area showed elevated arsenic levels in four private shallow-water wells, all located within a village of Gilberts subdivision. The vast majority of the homes in Gilberts were not affected, because they are served by a public water supply that draws its water from deep wells, and the water is treated to meet IPA drinking-water standards.

The arsenic levels in the four Gilberts wells ranged from 13 parts per billion to 26 parts per billion, just slightly above the relatively strict 10-ppb U.S. Environmental Protection Agency standard. The EPA adopted the 10-ppb threshold in 2001, replacing the old standard of 50 ppb, and systems were required to comply with the new standard by January 2006.

“The Gilberts issue highlighted the need for the five-year sampling routine, because often with changes in aquifer levels, you can see changes in water quality,” Wollnik said. “I think there is probably a very low likelihood that any of the 75 wells are the same wells as the ones in Gilberts that tested high for arsenic this fall.”

Wollnik told members of the Kane County Development Committee this week that the Water Resources Division would like to resample the area in 2015, and she will be meeting with ISWS representatives Tuesday to discuss the potential scope of a sampling.

“We will be working with the ISWS on possibly adding a sampling location in Gilberts Glen Subdivision, where the arsenic was detected. I will be deferring to the professionals for their opinion on the recommended sampling locations,” she said.

The Water Resources Division has sent a letter of support to the Illinois State Geological Survey for a grant to develop a cloud-based water model for local usage and monitoring.

“Presently, the high-powered computers down at the University of Illinois are required to run the regional water models,” Wollnik said. “A cloud-based program would enable local users to evaluate proposed high-capacity wells within their municipality or county without needing a local super-computer to run the model.”

Arsenic is a metal-like substance found in small amounts in nature. The Kane County Health Department recommends that any resident concerned about their well water should have their water tested. Residents may contact the Illinois Water Survey at 217-300-7420 to request a water test kit. A list of private laboratories that do water testing is available on the Health Department website.

More information about private water well quality is available by calling the Environmental Health Section at the Health Department at 630-444-3040.