I suppose it depends on what you mean by “really polluted.” Many would say it has been; many would say it is recovering. See the comprehensive, relatively objective article in the link.
The controversy over Illinois River water quality has been going for decades. The states of Oklahoma and Illinois have been fighting about phosporous concentrations in the River to such an extent, that a lawsuit regarding the water quality reached the Supreme Court in 1992. The Court ruled that water quality must be maintained, and that this includes any pollution that may seep into the water supply from areas further upstream. Agriculture has contributed heavily to the pollution of the River, and the states are trying to find ways to control the impact farms have on water quality. See the link for more information.
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