Right-to-Know (RTK) legislation was developed in 2002, 2006, and 2009 to fully inform individuals and the community in a timely manner when contamination poses a risk to the public. RTK notices include information about the contamination, the potential human health effects associated with exposure to the contamination, and any recommendations, such as the need to test water wells. The RTK program is administered by the Illinois EPA Office of Community Relations.
Notification to Private Water Well Users
The 2002 Right-to-Know law requires the Illinois EPA to notify the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) when groundwater contamination is detected in a Community Water System (CWS) well at concentrations above groundwater quality standards. IDPH is then required to notify private water well users within the area potentially affected by the identified contamination. Public notices are issued by means of electronic or print media to inform private well owners of the contamination and the need for water testing, and must appear in the media for three consecutive weeks. Public notices are posted on the Illinois EPA webpage.
Notification to Offsite Property Owners
The 2006 Right-to-Know law requires public notification when contamination extends beyond the boundary of a site where a release has occurred. To implement this law, the Illinois EPA developed regulations (35 Il. Adm. Code Part 1600) that include standards and requirements for performing: (1) potable water supply well surveys, and (2) community relations activities to notify and establish communication with the public who may be affected by contamination. Potable water supply well surveys ensure potable wells are accurately identified and located to determine the potential impacts to these wells from contamination. Community relations activities include distribution and implementation of notices, contact lists, fact sheets, community relation plans, and establishment & maintenance of document repositories. Public notices are issued via letters, emails, fact sheets, public meetings, or notices in local newspapers. Public notices are posted on the Illinois EPA webpage.
Notification to Community Water System Users
The 2009 Right-to-Know law requires a CWS owner/operator to notify all end users when water is contaminated or there is a threat of contamination above groundwater quality standards. This law establishes methods of notification and strict time frames for meeting the required notifications. Within two days after determining that groundwater contamination poses a risk of exposure to the public, the Illinois EPA must issue a press release. Within five days, the Illinois EPA must provide notice to the CWS owner/operator. Within five business days after receiving a notice from the Illinois EPA, the CWS owner/operator must notify its users and owners of premises connected to the affected system. Within seven days after issuing the notices, the CWS owner/operator must provide proof to the Illinois EPA that notices have been issued. Public notices are posted on the Illinois EPA webpage.
Illinois EPA Right-to-Know Program Coordinator
Illinois EPA Office of Community Relations
1021 North Grand Avenue East, P.O. Box 19276
Springfield, Illinois 62702
Phone: (217) 785-8724
Related Information and Resources
Drinking Water & Water Quality
Public Water Users
Drinking water permitting and compliance information, groundwater quality protection, and groundwater contamination notices
Private Well Users
Well water testing, common contaminants, well maintenance, septic system maintenance, location & construction of new wells, and groundwater contamination notices
Drinking Water Watch
Information regarding the water quality of community water supplies
Source Water Assessment and Protection Program
Information regarding protection of public water supply sources
Source Water Assessment and Protection Web Mapping Tool
Inventory of private wells and public water systems