Lake County has been growing and expanding very rapidly over the past decade and with that growth comes a large amount of new residential and commercial construction. While construction contractors are required to adhere to the regulations of Lake County's Watershed Development Ordinance (WDO) (PDF), at times, these regulations are not followed properly or are just not stringent enough to protect some of the county's higher quality lakes.
The Lakes Management Unit has recently become more involved with collecting water samples from several commercial and residential construction sites and intends on continuing this monitoring and collection as much as possible. However, we cannot collect data until we know that there is a potential water quality violation occurring.
What to Do
If you notice very turbid water (looks like chocolate milk) running off of a construction site during a rain event, please call our offices at 847-377-8020. It is important to note that the Lakes Management Unit is not an enforcement agency and we can only collect data to pass along to those agencies able to enforce the WDO or water quality regulations. One of these enforcement agencies is the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Division of Environmental Health. The IEPA may send someone out to investigate the complaint and will be more likely to act quickly if they are provided with total suspended solids (TSS) data (from our lab) and/or digital photographs of the water running off of the construction site and into a lake or steam.