The Rockford Park District tested the water quality at the Page Park artesian well, and based upon a recent recommendation from the Illinois Department of Public Health, has closed the well to public consumption.
In accordance with the Winnebago County Health Department regulations, there have been signs posted for several years warning people of the dangers of drinking natural spring water and possible illness due to the elevated nitrate and bacterial counts.
Regardless of the danger, the artesian well at Page Park has been used by many people in the community as an alternate source for non-chlorinated drinking water.
According to the written communication the Rockford Park District received from the Illinois Department of Public Health dated Feb. 18, 2004, The location and physical conditions around the spring allow for too many variables that could potentially contaminate this spring water supply. These chemical, parasitic and bacterial contamination sources are considered potential health risks to people consuming these types of water supplies. It is our determination that under the Rules for Drinking Water Systems, this artesian spring well must be treated as a surface water supply . . . this source shall no longer be utilized and maintained as a supply for drinking purposes.
Since the District does not encourage the use of the artesian water supply nor want to be implicated if the water supply was determined to be the source of a waterborne illness, the tube from the spring has been eliminated, the warning sign removed, and access to the well has been closed off by Park District staff.
We realize this is a sensitive issue to the individuals who have collected water at this spring for years, but we will err on the side of public safety, health, and well-being of our citizens every time, asserted Ron Butler, senior manager of Maintenance Operations for the Rockford Park District.