Ill. village must provide clean drinking water

By Bryan Cohen | Jul 30, 2012


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan obtained a court order on Friday to make sure that residents of Sauk Village will continue to have access to safe drinking water.

The order ensures that the access is maintained while a temporary fix is installed for the tainted water supply of the village.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Michael Hyman entered the order, which requires Sauk Village to keep distributing bottled water to its customers who request it.

"I strongly advise residents to take advantage of this opportunity to get clean, bottled water," Madigan said. "Meanwhile, my office will closely monitor events in Sauk Village to ensure compliance with today's court order."

The water continues to be distributed during daily distribution hours at the Paesel Community Center adjacent to the Sauk Village Police Department.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency told Sauk Village officials on Monday that temporary air stripping units will be installed at the water treatment plant to remove vinyl chloride contamination. The order requires that once the air strippers are installed and tested, they will remain in use until Sauk Village assumes the costs associated with the continued use of the units or installs its own temporary units on August 21.

The Illinois EPA told the village on July 16 that two wells in its public water supply system were approaching the maximum contaminant level for vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is a substantial public health threat and can endanger the environment. In 2009, the village stopped using a third well that had vinyl chloride levels above the MCL.

Madigan's office filed a second amended complaint against Sauk Village on Friday after the IEPA referred the latest issues with the public water supply to her office for enforcement. The complaint alleges that Sauk Village, as the operator and owner of a public water supply, has failed to provide its residents with safe water due to the ongoing vinyl chloride contamination in its supply of water.

The case is set for a status hearing scheduled with the court for Aug. 9.

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