Elevated metal levels found in water near Rockton’s Chemtool

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ROCKTON, Ill. — Officials have found elevated levels of harmful metals in groundwater monitoring wells at a Rockton Superfund toxic waste site.

But the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency noted that the substances were not found in the municipal water system for the Village of Rockton. Its water was tested June 21.

Testing of private wells near the site will begin soon.

The metals discovered include antimony, cadmium, chromium and nickel. Some metals are essential nutrients, while others can cause health problems.

The results came from wells that check groundwater on the site of the former Beloit Corp. Toxic waste investigations at the former manufacturer of paper-making products have been underway since 1992.

Elevated metal levels were found in 16 of 20 monitoring wells. All are contained on the Superfund site. The samples were collected following the June 14 explosion and devastating fire at Chemtool Inc., located on the Superfund site.

Metals were not previously a concern on the Beloit Corp. property. State officials are investigating their source.

Officials say that until testing is completed, those with private wells living in the Blackhawk neighborhood adjacent to Chemtool should use bottled water for drinking and cooking.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will provide interpretation of private-well test results when available directly to affected residents.

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