ROCKTON — No contamination has been found at private wells from the recent finding of metals at the Beloit Corporation environmental remediation area that includes the now-destroyed Chemtool facility, according to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA).
On June 21, elevated metals were detected at 16 of the monitoring wells at the site and no cause has been announced for the higher levels of antimony, cadmium, chromium and nickel. As a precaution, residents that have private wells and live in the Blackhawk neighborhood adjacent to the Chemtool property are recommended to not use private well water for drinking or cooking.
There were no detections of antimony, cadmium, chromium, and nickel identified in any of the private wells sampled, the IEPA said, but the agency noted that other contaminants were found in private wells. One well exceeded the state’s groundwater quality standard for lead, along with tetrachloroethylene, a volatile organic compound (VOC) being found at two other private wells. The concentrations of the chemical were below state water quality guidelines.
“Based on the location of one of the wells with a tetrachloroethylene detection, it is not expected to be related to the Beloit Corporation Superfund site or the Chemtool fire,” an IEPA news release states. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has contacted the impacted well owners and will provide a detailed interpretation of the results, including potential health impacts and appropriate mitigations, for impacted private well owners. Owners who have not been contacted by IDPH are unaffected but will also receive a summary of their results.
Last week, the Village of Rockton municipal water supply is now required to conduct additional test for the presence of chemicals used in fighting the massive fire from June 14, according to Village of Rockton officials.
The group of PFAS chemicals are synthesized and used in a variety of industries including firefighting and do not break down, and can build up in an environment over time. Exposure over time to high levels of PFAS chemicals is known to cause adverse health effects, including cancer and organ damage, according to the EPA.
The industrial chemical firefighting effort at the Chemtool site used a type of suppressing foam that contained PFAS for approximately three hours in the initial phases of fighting the blaze, with authorities taking prior precautions at the site to protect the Rock River and Village of Rockton municipal water supply.
“Should additional municipal water quality testing become necessary, the Village will fulfill any additional requirements needed,” Diduch said.
The additional PFAS testing of the wells are part of routine testing at various wells on the designated remediation area. A total of 30 monitoring wells are sampled semi-annually and 17 monitoring wells are sampled annually, with samples previously being analyzed for the presence of VOCs.
In the latest report from the site, none of the monitoring wells located off-site exceeded the maximum contamination levels, as previously reported by the Beloit Daily News.
Wells at the site are monitored for various contaminants ranging from monthly tests, yearly tests to testing every three, six and nine years, according to the IEPA.
A Superfund area is a polluted location requiring a long-term response to clean up hazardous waste contamination. The 175-acre Beloit Corporation site was placed on the EPA’s national priority list in 1990 as a site for future remediation. The IEPA has been responsible for the site’s remediation since 2002.