John Gulledge Chief Water Plant Operator P:(847) 810-4650 Email us here

Water Plant

Water PlantThe Water Plant is located at 1441 North Lake Rd. The Water Plant has a team of eight dedicated Water Plant Operators that have a multitude of responsibilities that they undertake to ensure Lake Forest residents are provided clean and healthy water. This includes oversight of the Water Plant’s membrane filtration systems and the monitoring of the City’s lift stations and elevated water tank. Additionally, Operators spend significant time ensuring that all the necessary, and very important, Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) and Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reports are completed on time and accurately. As a 24/7 operation, there is always somebody at the Water Plant providing important oversight and services. The Water Plant draws raw water from Lake Michigan through buried 24- and 42-inch pipes that extend up to three quarters of a mile into the lake. That water is pushed through ultrafiltration membranes and is pumped to residents as demand requires. The City installed the state’s first cutting-edge ultrafiltration system at the plant in 2004. Nearly 900 five-and-a half-foot-high canisters holding 15,000 fibers each filter between five million to ten million gallons of water per day during summer months and two million gallons per day in the winter. The filtered water is then pumped throughout town via finished water pumps.

Watering Restrictions

Beginning May 15, the Department of Natural Resources and City ordinance state that sprinkling restrictions are in effect through September 15.

  • Sprinkling is permitted on odd or even days, based on the odd or even last digit of your street address.  For example, if a property owner’s address ends with an odd number, “809 Smith Street”, that household may irrigate on odd-numbered dates.
  • Sprinkling between 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. is NOT allowed because water put on lawns during these hours is quickly evaporated by the afternoon sun.  Additionally, night time irrigation during the summer months “drain” the City’s water reserves, and the water plant needs the time during the following day to build those reserves back up.  Irrigation may occur from midnight until 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. until midnight on assigned days.
  • Property owners should make sure that irrigation systems are programmed to comply with these regulations.  Newly installed lawns and landscaping, exempt from these restrictions, may be watered daily for a reasonable period after installation.
The restrictions allow for half of the residents of Lake Forest to water every day.  However, in the event of drought or an emergency water shortage, the City may impose further summer outside water use restrictions.  For additional information about water restrictions, please contact John Gulledge at 847-810-4650. 

Annual Water Quality Report for Calendar Year 2022We are pleased to present a summary of the water provided to you in the last year. Annual Water Quality Report for Calendar Year 2022 details where our water comes from and what it contains. The entry point water supplied by the Lake Forest Water Plant meets or surpasses all Federal and State regulations. Past Annual Water Quality Reports are available in the Documents Library.

The Lake Forest Water Plant is supplied by surface water from Lake Michigan. Water is drawn from Lake Michigan through 42-inch and 24-inch intake pipelines.

Lake Forest Drinking WaterThe source of all our drinking water is Lake Michigan. The water is treated using an Ultrafiltration Membrane System and we produce 1.4 billion gallons annually. Read Frequently Asked Questions About the Lake Forest Drinking Water. You can call the Water Plant between the hours of 6:30 am to 3:00 pm at (847) 810-4650 to inquire about water quality issues.

Water Billing: Sara Hartnett
Phone: (847) 810-3620

PFAS and Drinking Water 

PFAs & Drinking Water

What are PFAS and where do they come from?

"PFAS" is an abbreviation that stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are a family of man-made chemicals dating back to the 1940s that include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). While common uses have included nonstick cookware, water replant clothing, and stain proof carpeting, PFAS have been used in a wide range of manufacturing and industrial activities due to these chemicals' durable and oil- and water-resistant properties. While many PFAS have been phased out of use in the US, they are considered “forever chemicals” because they persist in the environment.

Scientists are studying the impacts of these compounds on the environment and human health. Though typically found in minuscule amounts, PFAS are found nearly everywhere.

Source: Illinois Environmental Protection Agency: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Are PFAS levels regulated?

UPDATE: In March 2023, US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) announced a proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation for six PFAS including PFOA, PFOS, and four other PFAS chemicals (perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, commonly known as GenX Chemicals), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), and perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS)). The proposed rule would set MCLs at 4 ppt for PFOA and PFOS. The four additional PFAS would be regulated under a new “hazard index” approach. EPA will be accepting public comments on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register and plans to issue a final rule next year.   

The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) regulates drinking water by setting limits, known as Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs). MCLs are numeric standards that have been established for more than 90 chemicals, using the best available analytical and water treatment technologies while taking into consideration costs for treatment. As of June 2022, US EPA updated the interim “Lifetime Health Advisory Levels” for PFOA at 0.004 parts per trillion (ppt) and PFOS at 0.02 (ppt). A Lifetime Health Advisory Level is only guidance for evaluating the prevalence and occurrence of unregulated drinking water contaminants. It is not an enforceable drinking water standard. US EPA has not set MCLs for any PFAS chemicals.

Similarly, the state of Illinois has not adopted MCLs for any PFAS chemicals.  Illinois EPA is considering whether to regulate PFAS in Illinois drinking water and is conducting a statewide investigation into the prevalence and occurrence of PFAS in finished drinking water at all 1,749 community water supplies in Illinois.

Illinois EPA indicates that they will use data gathered by this investigation to inform possible development of future state drinking water standards. In the interim, the Illinois EPA has developed "Health-Based Guidance Levels" for certain PFAS chemicals, which are intended to be protective of all people consuming water over a lifetime of exposure. These Health-Based Guidance Levels are not enforceable drinking water standards. Rather, the Health-Based Guidance Levels are benchmarks against which sampling results may be compared to determine if additional investigation or response may be warranted.

Notably, both the US EPA Lifetime Health Advisory Levels and Illinois EPA Health-Based Guidance Levels are measured in parts per trillion (ppt), where many drinking water compounds are measured in parts per billion (ppb). As a frame of reference, one part per trillion is roughly the equivalent of one drop in 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Source: Illinois Environmental Protection Agency: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS)

Are there PFAS in the City's drinking water?

As "forever chemicals," trace amounts of PFAS are often detected in drinking water. The City is sampling its drinking water for PFAS as part of the Illinois EPA's initiative to sample all community water supplies in Illinois. Results of this sampling are listed below.
Screenshot 2024-05-15 113522 - Copy
All Lake Forest drinking water samples meet applicable state and federal regulations, as well as the new March 2023 US EPA proposed drinking water rule. 

Are there health effects related to PFAS exposure?

Research on the potential health effects of PFAS is ongoing. PFAS continue to be present in a wide range of consumer goods, including food packaging and personal care products, as well as in the soil, air and water. Due to their durable characteristics, PFAS are bioaccumulative, which means that they can build up over time. While exposure does not necessarily mean that a person will get sick or experience an adverse health effect, current scientific studies have potentially linked PFAS exposure to increased cholesterol levels, increased risk for thyroid disease, low infant birth weights, reduced response to vaccines, liver and kidney toxicity, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. 

Source: Illinois Environmental Protection Agency: Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) Health Effects

What is the City of Lake Forest doing?

Following State Guidance

 As with all issues that could impact City operations, the City is closely following the PFAS issue to ensure continued adherence to state and federal requirements. We will continue monitoring PFAS values through quarterly sampling at the direction of Illinois EPA. The most recent test results will be added to the above chart on this webpage, once available.  The City is also conducting a PFAS Treatment Feasibility Study to explore options to address PFAS. The City will continue to keep residents updated on this important issue. 

Lawsuit Against 3M, DuPont and Others Over PFAS in its Drinking Water Supplies

 The City of Lake Forest has joined several other North Shore communities in filing a lawsuit against PFAS manufacturers, including 3M Company, E.I. DuPont de Nemours, Inc., DuPont de Nemours and Company and Chemours Company related to detections of PFAS in the drinking water supplies of North Shore communities, including at low levels in Lake Forest drinking water.

Drinking water currently being provided by Lake Forest meets or exceeds all applicable Illinois and federal drinking water regulations. However, all Illinois communities, including Lake Forest, are required to continuously sample, analyze, and report detections of PFAS in their drinking water supplies to IEPA. These obligations are costly, burdensome, and may lead to treatment requirements as regulatory limits evolve. Through its lawsuit, Lake Forest seeks to protect ratepayers and ensure that any costs associated with sampling for and removing PFAS from its water supplies are borne by the companies that manufactured and sold PFAS.

The lawsuit has been filed in the federal District Court of Charleston, South Carolina, which is where PFAS-related suits from around the country are being litigated, requesting a trial by jury. The North Shore community plaintiffs, including Lake Forest, are represented by a consortium of firms with national expertise in PFAS litigation.

If you have questions about the lawsuit, please contact Assistant City Manager George Issakoo at or (847) 810-3680.

Where can I find more information?

If you have questions for the City of Lake Forest, please contact John Gulledge, Chief Water Plant Operator, at or 847.810.4650. The 2022 Annual Water Quality Report contains additional information about the City’s water quality.

The US Environmental Protection Agency and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency provide information on PFAS and the latest research and regulatory developments. The City is following the issue closely and will continue adhering to guidance from the Illinois EPA and US EPA.

Stay Informed!