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Rockton residents near the Chemtool site will need to wait days before finding out if private well water is safe to drink

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Chemtool water contamination

ROCKTON (WREX) — On Thursday, the Illinois EPA and Winnebago County Health Department announced there were dangerous levels of metals in several monitoring wells around the Chemtool site.

The county says Rockton's drinking water is not contaminated based off the same June 21 tests, but they can't say the same about private wells near the Chemtool site.

Twelve private well samples are in Springfield to be tested for metals, but until the tests come back, the county say people in the Blackhawk neighborhood should not drink or cook with their private well water.

As for the tests themselves, the Illinois EPA says the wells in that area are either tested ever six months or every twelve months. However, the EPA says it issued the June 21 test was a direct result of the Chemtool fire. The most recent tests before June 21 were taken in January and had no triggers for high metals.

Despite requesting the samples as a result of the Chemtool fire, both the EPA and county health department say the heightened presence of metals can not be directly attributed to the fire. The EPA says it's investigating the direct cause, but would not give a date for a final cause to be determined.

Dr. Sandra Martell with the Winnebago County Health Department anticipates the private well tests to be completed in the next few days.

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William Ingalls

William Ingalls is the weekend reporter at WREX. He joined the team in 2019 as a photographer after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and English from Augustana College. William was born and raised in Rockford and went to high school at Christian Life.

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