Chicago, IL


Chicago, IL

The City of Chicago is home to an estimated 2,716,450 residents, and it’s located in Cook County, IL.

This report will help you become better acquainted with Chicago and the surrounding area by addressing the following questions:

  • Are there any hazardous sites in Cook County, IL?
  • How clean is the air in Cook County, IL?
  • What’s the average radon level for homes in Cook County, IL?
  • Is the water in Cook County, IL safe to drink?

Hazardous Sites near Chicago, IL

There are three Superfund sites in Cook County, IL. Superfund sites, like Schroud Property in Chicago, IL, are areas that have been contaminated with hazardous substances. If not for the cleanup efforts orchestrated by the EPA, these sites could endanger people living in nearby communities.

The EPA uses the Hazardous Ranking System (HRS) to quantify the risk a contaminated site poses to human health and the environment. Sites assigned HRS scores of 28.5 or greater qualify for placement on the National Priorities List (NPL), and are eligible to receive federal funding for cleanup efforts.

Before the EPA deletes a site from the NPL, it conducts reviews to ensure the cleanup was sufficient. As a result, some sites remain on the active site list long after cleanup activities are complete.

For more information about the Superfund sites located in the Chicago, IL area, be sure to review the map and background information provided below:


Map Legend:

17031

A. Schroud Property (HRS Score: 50)

The Schroud Property site is located in Chicago, IL.

17031

B. Estech General Chemical Company (HRS Score: 30)

The Estech General Chemical Company site is located in Calumet City, IL.

17031

C. Lake Calumet Cluster (HRS Score: 30)

The Lake Calumet Cluster site is located in Chicago, IL.

Contaminants found at the Lake Calumet Cluster site include:

  • Antimony
  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Benzene
  • Beryllium

Air Quality in the Chicago, IL Area

The two most widespread forms of air pollution are ozone (smog) and particle pollution (soot). Exposure to these harmful pollutants, for even just a short period, can have adverse effects on your health.

Thanks to data collected by air monitoring equipment located across the country, the American Lung Association (ALA) is able to assess and track our air quality using three metrics:

  • Ozone
  • Short-term Particle Pollution
  • Year-round Particle Pollution

In their 2019 annual report, the ALA rated the air quality in Cook County, IL as follows:

Ground-Level
Ozone Pollution

Grading Scale: A-F

Short-Term
Particle Pollution

Grading Scale: A-F

Year-Round
Particle Pollution

Grading Scale: Pass/Fail

Radon Levels in Chicago, IL Area

Air quality inside your home can be impacted by a number of factors, including the presence of hazardous substances in building materials (asbestos, lead, formaldehyde, etc.) and local radon levels.

Radon is a naturally occurring gas you cannot see or smell. It can build up inside your home and negatively impact your indoor air quality as well as your health.

To provide a guideline, the EPA assigned one of three zones to each U.S. county and county equivalent:

  • Zone 1 (higher radon levels)
  • Zone 2 (moderate levels)
  • Zone 3 (lower levels)

Indoor radon readings in Cook County, IL are expected to average from 2 to 4 picocuries per liter (pCi/L), so the county has been assigned EPA Radon Zone 2.

EPA Radon Zone

According to the EPA, you should consider acting to reduce your home's radon level if it measures between 2 and 4 pCi/L, so if you're contemplating buying a home in Chicago, IL, you should have a radon test performed.

Water Quality in Chicago, IL Area

In accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the EPA sets regulatory limits for drinking water contaminants known to cause adverse health effects.

The following Cook County, IL water provider(s) violated the maximum allowable level for one or more regulated contaminants:

Filter ValueWater SystemContaminantHealth Effects
17031Aqua Illinois-North Maine UtilitiesCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Arlington HeightsCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Arlington Park Race TrackCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031BartlettBariumIncrease in blood pressure
17031BartlettCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031BellwoodCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Blackhawk Estates LLCCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Blackhawk Estates LLCGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Des Plaines MHPCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Des Plaines MHPGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Elk Grove VillageCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Ford HeightsFluorideBone disease (pain and tenderness of the bones); children may get mottled teeth 
17031Franciscan Sisters of ChicgoCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Franciscan Sisters of ChicgoGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Hanover ParkCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Hoffman EstatesBariumIncrease in blood pressure
17031Hoffman EstatesGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Il American-Chicago SuburbanCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Il American-Chicago SuburbanGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Il American-FernwayGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Indian Head ParkCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031LemontCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031LemontGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Lindentree TownhomesCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031LynwoodGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Mission Brook SdCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Mission Brook SdGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Prospect HeightsCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Rolling MeadowsCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 
17031Rolling MeadowsGross Alpha, Excl. Radon and UIncreased risk of cancer
17031Sunset MHPCombined Radium (-226 and -228)Increased risk of cancer 

In addition to setting enforceable standards for harmful contaminants, the EPA also established guidelines to assist public water providers in managing the taste, odor and color of their drinking water.

To find out more about what’s in your drinking water, contact your utility company and request a copy of the latest Consumer Confidence Report.


Sources and Methods

Hazardous Sites: Identified using a report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), hazardous sites detailed on trendingtowns.com represent sites contained on the National Priorities List (NPL) as of November 25, 2019.  The NPL is the list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories.  All site-related data was sourced from the EPA.

Air Quality: Grades for ozone, short-term particle pollution, and year-round particle pollution were obtained from State of the Air 2019, a report compiled by the American Lung Association.

Radon Zones: Radon zone designations were obtained using a public use dataset provided by the EPA (September 11, 2019).

Water Quality: Drinking water violation data was sourced from the Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS), a public use database provided by the EPA.  The dataset included violations submitted to the database as of the third quarter of 2019.

Paul

I’ve moved several times over the years, so I know just how stressful it can be to relocate. I want to help put your mind at ease. That’s why I research and write about all the things I think you should consider when moving to a new town.

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