Hard water is a common problem in many areas of the United States. If you live in Chicago, you may be wondering if Chicago has hard water.
Chicago has hard water. The average water hardness ranges from 130 to 150 mg/L of calcium carbonate, or 7.6 to 8.8 grains per gallon.
In this blog post, we will discuss Chicago’s water quality, the various factors that contribute to water hardness, and provide some tips on how to soften your water if needed. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Chicago’s hard water.
You may be interested in my article about water hardness in other cities.
Does Chicago Have Hard Water?
Chicago’s tap water is hard. The average hardness is 148 milligrams per liter (mg/L) as calcium carbonate or 8 grains per gallon (gpg). Throughout the year, Chicago’s water hardness can be as low as 130 parts per million (ppm) and as high as 150 ppm.
Chicago Water Quality – What’s in the city’s tap water
The table below summarizes the water hardness in Chicago and the major cities and towns in the State of Illinois.
|City||Average Hardness Calcium Carbonate mg/L||Average Hardness Grains per Gallon||Zip Code|
|Chicago||148 PPM||8 gpg||60601 |60602 | 60603 | 60604 | 60605 | 60606 | 60607 | 60608 | 60609 | 60610 | 60611 | 60612 | 60613 | 60614 | 60615 | 60616 | 60617 | 60618 | 60619 | 60620 | 60621 | 60622 | 60623 | 60624 | 60625 |60626 | 60628 | 60629 | 60630 | 60631 | 60632 | 60633 | 60634 | 60636 | 60637 | 60638 | 60639 | 60640 | 60641 | 60642 | 60643 | 60644 | 60645 | 60646 | 60647 | 60649 | 60651 | 60652 | 60653 |60654 | 60655 | 60656 | 60657 | 60659 | 60660 | 60661|
|Aurora||127 PPM||7 gpg||60502 |60503 | 60504 | 60505 | 60506|
|Carol Stream||418 PPM||24 gpg||60188|
|Champaign||258 PPM||5 gpg||61820 | 61821 | 61822|
|Cicero||187 PPM||11 gpg||60804|
|Columbus||120 PPM||7 gpg||62236|
|Crystal Lake||137 PPM||8 gpg||60012 | 60014|
|Danville||191 PPM||11 gpg||61832 | 61834|
|Decatur||194 PPM||11 gpg||62521 |62522 | 62523 | 62526|
|Dekalb||188 PPM||11 gpg||60115|
|Des Plaines||350 PPM||18 gpg||60016 | 60018|
|Downers Grove||288 PPM||17 gpg||60515 | 60516|
|East Peoria||250 PPM||15 gpg||61611|
|East Saint Louis||210 PPM||12 gpg||62201 | 62203 | 62204 | 62205 | 62206 | 62207|
|Elgin||171 PPM||10 gpg||60120 | 60123 | 60124|
|Elmhurst||362 PPM||21 gpg||60126|
|Elmwood Park||218 PPM||3 gpg||61529 | 60707|
|Evanston||333 PPM||20 gpg||60201 | 60202 | 60203|
|Glenview||299 PPM||18 gpg||60025 | 60026|
|Granite City||250 PPM||15 gpg||62040|
|Joilet||388 PPM||23 gpg||60431 | 60432 | 60433 | 60435 | 60436|
|Kankakee||196 PPM||11 gpg||60901|
|Lombard||344 PPM||20 gpg||60148|
|Melrose Park||222 PPM||12 gpg||60160 | 60164|
|Moline||210 PPM||12 gpg||61265|
|Mount Prospect||247 PPM||14 gpg||60056|
|Naperville||288 PPM||17 gpg||60540 | 60563 | 60564 | 60565|
|Oak Lawn||222 PPM||13 gpg||60453|
|Oak Park||212 PPM||12 gpg||60301 | 60302 | 60304|
|Orland Park||322 PPM||19 gpg||60462 | 60467|
|Palatine||245 PPM||14 gpg||60067 | 60074|
|Peoria||250 PPM||15 gpg||61602 |61603 | 61604 | 61605 | 61606 | 61607 | 61614 | 61615 | 61625|
|Plainfield||280 PPM||16 gpg||60544 | 60585 | 60586|
|Rockford||308 PPM||18 gpg||61101 |61102 | 61103 | 61104 | 61107 | 61108 | 61109 | 61112 | 61114|
|Romeoville||395 PPM||24 gpg||60446|
|Springfield||88 PPM||5 gpg||62701 |62702 | 62703 | 62704 | 62707 | 62711 | 62712|
Learn about water hardness in these cities:
Does Illinois Have Hard Water
Illinois is a hard water state. The average water hardness in Illinois is around 200 PPM, which is extremely hard. This can cause white deposits on plumbing fixtures and damage to water heaters. Chicago, the most populous city in Illinois, has a water hardness level of 148 PPM. Rockford registers the highest water hardness levels in the state, with 308 PPM (or 18 grains per gallon).
Why Is Chicago Water Hard?
Chicago’s drinking water comes from Lake Michigan. Water flows into Lake Michigan from several rivers, including:
- Fox-Wolf River
- Grand River
- St. Joseph River
- Kalamazoo River
- Muskegon River
- Milwaukee River
- Menominee River
These rivers pick up hardness (primarily calcium) as they flow towards Lake Michigan. In addition to the hardness contributed by the rivers, the hardness concentration increases as water evaporates from the lake.
Where Does Chicago Water Come from?
The map above shows the location of Chicago’s water supply system.
Chicago’s tap water comes from Lake Michigan. The water treatment process begins when water from the lake, 20-30 feet deep, enters one of the two intake cribs.
Water cribs are offshore structures that collect water from close to the bottom of a lake. The collected water is then conveyed to shore through large diameter tunnels.
Who Provides Water to Chicago
Chicago’s drinking water is supplied by the Bureau of Water Supply. This agency delivers nearly 1 billion gallons of drinking water to residents of Chicago every day.
The Bureau tests for water quality around the clock, every day of the year. The water provided by the Department of Water Management not only meets, but exceeds the current and proposed water quality standards set by organizations such as the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Pollution Control Board.
What type of treatment is used to purify Chicago water?
Chicago’s tap water is purified using the following treatment technologies.
- Screening: Water passes through 8 inlet screens to remove debris and solids.
- Chlorine: Chlorine is added to disinfect the water.
- Aluminum Sulfate and Polymer: These coagulants are added to settle out impurities.
- Blended Polyphosphate: Water conditioning is used to coat old pipes and prevent lead leaching.
- Activated Carbon: Adsorption is used to remove unpleasant tastes and odors.
- Fluoride: Chicago uses this additive to help prevent cavities.
What is hardness
Hardness is a measure of the amount of calcium and magnesium in your water. The higher levels of these minerals, the harder the water. Hard water can cause damage to pipes, deposits on fixtures and even interfere with soap performance.
Problems with hard water
Hard water can have several negative effects, including:
- Increased plumbing costs due to buildup in pipes and fixtures.
- Reduced efficiency of water heaters as calcium builds up on the heating element.
- Soap scum buildup on shower walls and dishes that are difficult to remove.
How Can I Remove Hardness from my Water
Hardness can be reduced by installing a water softener in your home. Water softeners use ion exchange resin to remove calcium and magnesium ions from the water supply, replacing them with sodium ions. This reduces the hardness of your water and prevents damage to pipes, fixtures and appliances.
Water softener for Chicago’s hard water
A water softener is the best way to reduce the hardness in your water. If you live in the Chicago area, you can check out this whole house water softener from FilterWater.
Crystal Quest Whole House Water Softener
CRYSTAL QUEST whole house water softeners are simple to use, dependable, and easy to program. They are engineered for maximum filtration and maximum performance with minimum maintenance to deliver trouble free operation for many years with reliable service. All components are the highest quality in the industry and NSF approved.
3-stage filtration process:
- First stage, 20″ sediment cartridge that removes sediment, silt, sand and dirt. Also extends the life of water softeners and water filters, and prevents damage to control valves.
- Second stage, Ion exchange mineral tank and brine water conditioner that contains sation resin media
- Third stage 20″ solid carbon cartridge for removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s), insecticides, pesticides and industrial solvents.
|Model/SKU:||CQE-WH-01123, CQE-WH-01124 , CQE-WH-01123S|
|Controller:||Fleck 5600SXT Automatic Backwash Control Valve with LED display.|
|Flow Rate(Gallon-per-Minute):||9 gpm for 1 cubic foot tank, 11 gpm for 1.5 cu.ft, 11-13 gpm for 2 cu.ft.|
|Tank:||White fiberglass tank , available in all Stainless Steel (+$500, inquire).|
|Bypass Valve:||3/4″ or 1″ Stainless Steel|
|Features:||Riser style 1″ internal flow distributor.20″ x 50″ (Diameter x Height) Brine water mineral exchange tank.|
|Media Life:||10+ years.|
|Filters Life:||Sediment pre- and carbon block post filter is recommended to be replaced every 3-6 months|
Is Chicago tap water safe to drink?
According to testing by the Chicago Department of Water Management and the Environmental Protection Agency, Chicago’s tap water is safe for drinking.
However, the old water pipes that are still in service for many homes may leach dangerous levels of lead into your water.
Does Chicago’s drinking water taste good?
Chicago’s tap water has a slightly metallic taste due to the minerals in it. The Department of Water Management adds chlorine for disinfection and fluoride for dental health, which can also affect the taste. You can always add a water filter to your tap to remove any unpleasant flavors from your drinking water.
Do I need a water softener if I live in Chicago?
If you have hard water, installing a water softener can reduce the amount of calcium and magnesium in your drinking water. It can also help prevent damage to pipes, fixtures and appliances. However, if you don’t have a problem with hard water, then you may not need a water softener.
Chicago’s tap water is safe for drinking, but it is also hard. The average hardness is 148 ppm. This can lead to problems like soap scum buildup, decreased efficiency of water heaters and increased plumbing costs. The best way to reduce the hardness of your drinking water is to install a water softener in your home. This will ensure that you have clean, healthy drinking water for years to come.