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posted: 3/9/2013 8:00 AM

Buffalo Creek needs more cleanup, agency says

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  • Buffalo Creek in Arlington Heights.

       Buffalo Creek in Arlington Heights.
    GEORGE LECLAIRE | Staff Photographer

  • GEORGE LECLAIRE/gleclaire@dailyherald.com  Buffalo Creek in Arlington Heights.

      GEORGE LECLAIRE/gleclaire@dailyherald.com Buffalo Creek in Arlington Heights.

  • GEORGE LECLAIRE/gleclaire@dailyherald.com  Buffalo Creek in Arlington Heights.

      GEORGE LECLAIRE/gleclaire@dailyherald.com Buffalo Creek in Arlington Heights.

 

The waters of Buffalo Creek are not very healthy, a representative of the Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership said this week.

Jeff Weiss, the partnership's founder, said its study has shown the lake water contains phosphorous, suspended solids and dissolved oxygen and the creeks contain fecal coliform chloride and dissolved oxygen levels that exceed EPA allowances. The study is being done in conjunction with the Illinois EPA.

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The Buffalo Creek Clean Water Partnership formed nearly a year ago with the aim to restore Buffalo Creek and its tributaries.

The creek's watershed involves 11 communities, including Barrington, Inverness and Deer Park, in an area that is bisected by Lake-Cook Road. The tributaries meet in the reservoir at the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve.

Weiss said there are an estimated 100,000 people living in this watershed.

Weiss added that besides the pollution, there are issues with erosion, sedimentation and habitat degradation. He said the partnership is approaching the problem by building the organization. There have been four public meetings, and more than 200 people are on the mailing list.

Quarterly meetings are scheduled for the next two years.

The group has applied for a grant and is negotiating a $104,000 award for a project to develop a watershed plan.

"We are engaging all the members of our watershed group to help us develop this," he said.

That project requires a 50 percent match of in-kind services, and the group has received commitments from the Buffalo Grove Park District and the village of Buffalo Grove.

The group has gotten a $10,000 grant from the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission to conduct water quality monitoring and find the sources of the pollutants. Volunteers will do the monitoring.

Commitments have been received from eight villages to increase the testing of the water in their communities. Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Kildeer, Deer Park, Lake County and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago are taking part.

Volunteers will start collecting water samples from the Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve in three weeks. To get involved, contact Jeff Weiss at marjeff1@aol.com and (847) 224-0965 or Marcy Knysz at (847) 732-5172. Visit www.buffalocreekcleanwater.org.

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