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Water Hardness in Illinois Cities

Water hardness is defined by the level of calcium and magnesium ions in the water. This characteristic can fluctuate across Illinois, as various parts of the state exhibit different water hardness levels due to their distinct geological features and sources of water.

In Illinois, water hardness can vary from soft to very hard, contingent upon the specific location in the state. Northern Illinois, particularly areas closer to Lake Michigan, typically have softer water as a result of the large freshwater source’s influence. However, southern and central parts of Illinois might have harder water due to the local bedrock and groundwater that can contain higher concentrations of dissolved minerals.

The actual water hardness measurements in Illinois cities can shed light on the specific water conditions. Water hardness indictors are prone to changes, but numerous communities in Illinois are known to have moderately hard to very hard water levels. These hardness levels can impact the taste of water, the performance of cleaning products like soaps, and have consequences on household water-using appliances.

The water hardness levels in the state of Illinois show variation across different cities, with measurements given in parts per million (ppm) and grains per gallon (gpg). Cities such as Lockport and Batavia exhibit high hardness levels of up to 667.6 ppm, 39 gpg, and 428.0 ppm, 25 gpg, respectively. On the contrary, Springfield has a relatively lower level at 110.0 ppm, 6.43 gpg. Moreover, several cities like Chicago, Naperville, and Cicero have hardness levels measured at 141.7 ppm, 8.24 gpg. While cities such as Peoria, Rockford, and Joliet along with others did not have available data.

CityHardness ppm (mg/L)Hardness gpgInformation SourceNotes
Chicago141.78.3LinkLake Michigan
Jolietn/an/aLinkCurrently groundwater, will be from Chicago starting in 2030
Naperville141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Waukegan130.07.6LinkLake Michigan
Cicero141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Evanston139.08.1LinkLake Michigan
Schaumburg141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Arlington Heights139.08.1LinkPurchases from Evanston
Decaturn/an/aLinkLake Decatur
Skokie139.08.1LinkPurchases from Evanston
Palatine139.08.1LinkPurchases from Evanston
Des Plaines141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Orland Park141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Oak Lawn141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Berwyn141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Mount Prospect141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Tinley Park141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Oak Park141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Wheaton141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Hoffman Estates141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago via Northwest Suburban
Downers Grove144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
Glenview142.08.2LinkLake Michigan via Wilmette
Plainfield141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Elmhurst144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission
Lombard144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
Buffalo Grove137.08.0LinkLake Michigan
Molinen/an/aLinkSources form Mississippi also sources to Silvis
Bartlett144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
DeKalb119.87.0LinkGroundwater that is softened during treatment
Crystal Laken/an/aLink
Carol Stream141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Quincyn/an/aLinkSources from Mississippi River
Park Ridge141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Streamwood141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Wheeling139.08.1LinkPurchases from Evanston
Hanover Park141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Rock Islandn/an/aLink
Addison144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
Calumet City141.78.3LinkSources from Chicago
Northbrookn/an/aLinkLake Michigan directly, Not Chicago
Woodridge144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
St. Charlesn/an/aLink
Glendale Heights144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
O’Fallonn/an/aLinkMississippi River via E. St. Louis
Elk Grove Village141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago via Northwest Suburban
Mundeleinn/an/aLinkLake Michigan
Gurneen/an/aLinkLake Michigan via Lake Bluff
Niles139.08.1LinkReceives via Morton Grove
Highland Park132.57.8LinkLake Michigan, separate intake from Chicago proper
North Chicagon/an/aLinkLake Michigan, separate intake from Chicago proper
Lake in the Hillsn/an/aLink
Burbank141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Glen Ellyn144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
Lansingn/an/aLinkPurchases from Hammond IN, which doesn’t report
Wilmette142.08.2LinkLake Michigan
Granite Cityn/an/aLink
New Lenox141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Round Lake Beachn/an/aLinkLake Michigan via Lake Bluff
Chicago Heightsn/an/aLinkPurchases from Hammond IN, which doesn’t report
Oak Forest141.78.3LinkPurchases form Chicago
Vernon Hillsn/an/aLinkLake Michigan via Lake Bluff
Lockport667.639.0LinkUsed City of Lockport CCR Document on the linked page
West Chicagon/an/aLinkWell water, mentions they treat to reduce hardness but don’t provide values
Morton Grove139.08.1LinkPurchases from Evanston
Homer Glen141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Zionn/an/aLinkPurchases from Decatur
Melrose Park141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
Westmont144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
Elmwood Park141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago
South Elginn/an/aLink
Lisle144.08.4LinkPurchases from Chicago thru DuPage Water Commission, used Elmhurst’s number
Rolling Meadows141.78.3LinkPurchases from Chicago via Northwest Suburban
Top 100 Illinois cities by population and their reported water hardness
ppm = Parts Per Million
mg/L = Milligrams Per Liter
gpg = Grains Per Gallon

Hard water can cause issues such as mineral buildup in plumbing and appliances, reduce the efficacy of soaps and detergents, and affect the taste of the water. A tried and true solution is the use of a water softener. A water softener, like the ones from DROP, could be a worthwhile investment.

These devices work by replacing the calcium and magnesium ions that cause hardness with sodium ions, resulting in softer water. With innovative features, easy installation, and efficient operation, DROP smart water softeners provide a solution to hard water issues, extending the lifespan of appliances, improving water taste, enhancing soap effectiveness, reducing scale build-up, and increasing the overall water efficiency in your home.

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