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Exposure Investigation and Site Update



This health consultation evaluates groundwater data collected since January 10, 2002, in relation to the Batavia Groundwater Contamination Site in Batavia, Kane County, Illinois. This health consultation also provides an update on the public health issues related to this site.


The Batavia Groundwater Site is in Batavia, Kane County, Illinois (the southeast quarter of section 22 and northeast quarter of section 27, township 39N, range 8E). The site is bounded by a line running east to west through the Batavia sewage treatment plant to the north, Glenwood Forest Preserve to the south, the Burlington Northern Railroad tracks to the east, and the Fox River to the west (Attachment 1).

During routine well water sampling in January 1996, IDPH identified vinyl chloride and other chlorinated solvents in a well used by the Montessori Academy (1). No obvious source of vinyl chloride was found at the Montessori Academy and IDPH collected additional water well samples from surrounding properties in July 1996. Results for those samples showed an area of contamination south of the Montessori Academy, in association with Batavia Concrete, Inc. IDPH referred the site to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (Illinois EPA) in 1996 for possible remediation (1).

In December 1996, IDPH began an annual groundwater monitoring program for homes in a subdivision west of the site across the Fox River. From 1996-2001, site-related chemicals were detected in groundwater samples from only one home. In 2001, vinyl chloride and cis-1,2-dichloroethylene were measured in groundwater samples at a level of 5.2 parts per billion (ppb). Because of the level of vinyl chloride, residents in this home were advised to use an alternate drinking water supply or install a whole-house water filtration system (2).

In June 2002, IDPH collected additional groundwater samples from residential water wells in the subdivision west of the site, including the private well where vinyl chloride was detected in January 2001. Groundwater samples were collected from 11 homes, but vinyl chloride was the only chemical detected in the previously affected water well.

The residents who live in the home with the contaminated well said that they have not consumed their well water for many years because of its taste. The residents use bottled water exclusively for drinking purposes (IDPH, personal communication with residents, June 2002).


IDPH compared the results of the groundwater samples to maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. MCLs have been established for public water supplies to reduce the chances of adverse health effects from the use of contaminated drinking water. These standards are well below levels for which adverse health effects have been observed and take into account the financial feasibility of achieving specific contaminant levels. The chemical of interest in groundwater is vinyl chloride.

The main hazard related to the site is exposure to vinyl chloride in contaminated groundwater by ingestion and inhalation. IDPH estimated a daily dose for adults and children exposed to contaminated water containing 2.0 ppb of vinyl chloride. This is also the most recent result for the private home across the Fox River west of the site. Long-term exposure to this level of vinyl chloride in water poses no apparent increased risk for liver damage or liver cancer for adults; however, it could pose a low increased risk for liver damage and liver cancer for children (3).


IDPH recognizes that children are especially sensitive to some contaminants, and for that reason, IDPH considered children when evaluating exposure to vinyl chloride. Because no children currently live in the home with the contaminated well, and because the residents exclusively use bottled water for consumption, IDPH anticipates that any children who visit the home would experience minimal exposure to vinyl chloride and no adverse health effects would be expected.


IDPH concludes that under current conditions, exposure to vinyl chloride in groundwater poses no apparent public health hazard to residents in the affected home west of the site across the Fox River. This conclusion is based on continued use of bottled water by the residents and the fact that no children live in the home. For all other homes, no public health hazard exists at this time. Except for one home, no site-related chemicals have been detected in well water samples collected from the residential area west of the site. IDPH recognizes that exposure to site-related chemicals could pose a health hazard if other wells in this residential area become contaminated.


IDPH advised the residents whose well has been affected by vinyl chloride to continue their use of bottled water or to seek other drinking water sources for consumption.

If new information becomes available to indicate that previously unaffected wells have been contaminated with vinyl chloride or other site-related chemicals, IDPH will collect additional groundwater samples from private wells in the subdivision west of the site across the Fox River.


Aaron Martin
Environmental Toxicologist
Illinois Department of Public Health


  1. Illinois Department of Public Health. Memorandum to David Antonacci from Dick Petrella concerning possible remediation, Batavia Groundwater Site. Springfield, Illinois. August 23, 1996.

  2. Illinois Department of Public Health. Letter to resident from Illinois Department of Health concerning groundwater contamination with vinyl chloride. Springfield, Illinois. April 9, 2002.

  3. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Toxicological profile for vinyl chloride. Atlanta US Department of Health and Human Services; 1997.


This Batavia Groundwater Site health consultation was prepared by the Illinois Department of Public Health under a cooperative agreement with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). It is in accordance with approved methodology and procedures existing at the time the health consultation was begun.

W. Allen Robison
Technical Project Officer
Superfund Site Assessment Branch (SAAB)
Division of Health Assessment and Consultation (DAC)

The Division of Health Assessment and Consultation, ATSDR, has reviewed this health consultation and concurs with its findings.

Richard Gillig
for Roberta Erlwein
Chief, State Programs Section


Batavia Community Water Supply Well Location Map
Figure 1. Batavia Community Water Supply Well Location Map

Table of Contents The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Atlanta, GA 30341
Contact CDC: 800-232-4636 / TTY: 888-232-6348

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