A while back we edited a presentation and entitled it: Chicagoland: Home of the Most Toxic Creeks in the US? The point was to show that among the regions tested in the US, the western suburbs had some of the highest levels of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) found. It was assumed that was only because not that many regions had done comprehensive testing.
Check out what we just uncovered. Evidence, created by a branch of the USGS, but not the researchers doing coal tar sealant work, which shows PAH contamination in Chicagoland, suburban streams are in the top 5% of contaminated streams in the entire US! That is after comparing over 1,200 streams nationwide. These levels weren't found in an old industrial area like Lake Calumet; they were in suburban Western Springs in Salt Creek!
Here's what the MWRDGC says should be done with this info:
“Water quality data and analysis for the Upper Illinois River Basin NAWQA study will be useful in developing Illinois nutrient standards and prioritizing the development of standards for other pollutants.” Richard Lanyon, Director of Research and Development, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
This also is a PRIMARY Illinois River Complex Problem
The current study, however, suggests that ammonia is no longer the primary contaminant of concern, but rather non-polar organics, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are the primary cause for toxicity in the Illinois River Complex (IRC).
This is a Chicago River problem too
Based upon the results of the data the following conclusions are made:
- PAH concentrations, especially in the South Branch of the river are elevated and potentially present an ecological and/or human health threat;
- PAHs, oil and grease, dioxins and furans and PCBs are the primary contaminants of concern, with metals a secondary contaminant of concern, identified in the sediments throughout the Chicago River system;
People of Illinois, what will you do with this information, continue this practice of sealing with coal tar sealers or outlaw it as is currently being proposed by the Illinois House of Representatives?