Rockton's drinking water is safe, but a state report on it was filed late


Stock photo: Joe Shlabotnik, Flickr

Some residents of the Village of Rockton received a notice dated May 16, 2023 titled "Important Information About Your Drinking Water." The notice mention "lead sampling" but said "this was not an emergency." That's because it involves an administrative violation, not lead contamination.

According to WIFR, Village President John Peterson says all Illinois municipalities have been checking and replacing lead pipes, as required by a 2022 state law. That's what Rockton has been doing too. The only problem is that they were supposed to file a mandatory state survey before April 1, 2023 and they filed it after the deadline. The survey describes how the Village is handling Optimal Corrosion Control Treatment (OCCT) and Source Water Treatment (SOWT).

Public Works Manager Dan Barber explained to us, "The water operator forgot to send in a report concerning one sample out of 20 that was at the maximum allowed level for copper. There is no lead detected but the test is called lead and copper. No other samples have come back even close to the maximum level."

Though the Village water system continues to be safe, water in some private wells may not be as healthy. Because of the Beloit Corporation plant which operated from 1957 until 1999, groundwater tests found higher-than-acceptable levels of heavy metals in 2021 and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in 1988 in Rockton's Blackhawk Acres Subdivision, long before the Chemtool fire. We reported in July 2021 that half the residents in that subdivision have private wells, though hopefully they aren't using them anymore for drinking.

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