We are pleased to present a summary of the water provided to you in the last year. This Annual Water Quality Report 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 section on the left navigation.
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.
PFAS & Drinking Water
Watering Restrictions - "Sprinkler-Free Mondays"Beginning May 15, the Department of Natural Resources and City ordinance state that sprinkling restrictions are in effect through September 15. This new regulation applies to both automated irrigation systems and manual sprinklers. If you own an automated irrigation system, it can be easily programmed.
- Even-Numbered Addresses (i.e. 808 Smith Street) may sprinkle from midnight - 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. - midnight on: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
- Odd-Numbered Addresses (i.e. 809 Smith Street) may sprinkle from midnight - 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. - midnight on: Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.
- 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.
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. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions About the Lake Forest Drinking Water. You can call the Water Plant between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at 847-810-4650 to inquire about water quality issues.
Water Billing: Sara Hartnett
PFAs & Drinking Water
"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.
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. In 2016, US EPA set "Lifetime Health Advisory Levels" for PFOA and PFOS at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) combined. 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.
As “forever chemicals,” trace amounts of PFAS are often detected in drinking water. Illinois EPA testing has determined that one PFAS chemical was detected in the City’s drinking water just above the Illinois EPA Health-Based Guidance Level.
The concentrations detected in City water are well below the US EPA published Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 ppt. 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.
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.
The City is following guidance from the Illinois EPA and closely monitoring the latest health-based guidance. 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 web page, once available.
We are also investigating the difference between low levels of PFAS in raw and finished water in order to evaluate the removal effectiveness of the current filtration system. The City will continue to closely monitor the situation and ensure information is communicated with residents.
If you have questions for the City of Lake Forest, please contact John Gulledge, Chief Water Plant Operator, at email@example.com or 847.810.4650. The 2020 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.