Round Lake residents concerned about discolored water

ROUND LAKE, Ill. -- Residents of one far north suburban neighborhood have been told their water is safe, even though the color is off, but some people are concerned.

Some residents in Round Lake, Ill., said they aren’t just worried about their health. They’re worried about what this water is doing to their pets, their appliances and their pipes.

“We draw a bath for our kids and my 8-year-old son looks at it and looks at me and he’s like I can’t bathe in this water, it’s yellow,” Jason Zeller, a resident of Round Lake, said.

Christin Robinson said her biggest concern is the development of her baby.

One resident said that on a bad day, the water is “a really dark brown.” He said that on a good day, it’s yellow.

“The most concerning thing was finding out it happened in March and so for the last month we’ve been drinking water that’s questionable at best,” Robinson said.

But Lake County officials said the water isn’t questionable – despite the color, it’s absolutely safe.

“This is not an uncommon problem. iron is in well water.” Jennie Vana, Lake County spokesperson, said.

In March after a citizen complaint came in, the county discovered its filtration system had broken. About 500 homes had elevated levels of iron in their drinking water.

“The water is 100 percent safe to consume. But again we recognize they expect clear water and when they see yellow water it is concerning and we understand that,” Vana said.

The county said it has been testing the water daily since March and even though there is more iron in the water than normal it still falls within safe standards set by the Illinois EPA.

“I want to believe that. But I have to question it if I’m doing my due diligence as a father,” Zeller said.

Robinson, who is five months pregnant, said she also wants to trust the county, but she is worried about how all of that extra iron might have affected her unborn baby.

“Any story you ever hear of water being safe you’re told it’s safe but then it turns out it’s not,” she said.

Round Lake families are questioning why they had to find out about the issue on Facebook, and they are hoping the county will be more transparent in the future.

“I just wish we had been notified at all. They said they sent out letters we didn’t receive anything,” Robinson said.

“I am disappointed. I’m disappointed that they didn’t bring it to our attention when this first happened,” Zeller said.

The county is now making an effort to notify everyone. Robocalls went out Wednesday and a post card will be sent Thursday.

The Illinois EPA said they are aware of the issue and they are following it closely. They confirm the water at this point is safe. The county said if people run their faucets for 10 to 20 minutes the water should become clear. But the filtration system won’t be fixed for another two to three months.

For more information visit the county's website.

Visit lakecountyil.gov to view the county's test results.