Crestwood Officials Indicted in Water Scandal

The village's police chief and a former water official are accused of lying about using potentially contaminated water

Thursday, Aug 11, 2011  |  Updated 3:38 PM CDT
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Feds Probe Crestwood Water

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Feds Probe Crestwood Water

First came the angry call from residents, and now a full-blown investigation is underway in one southwest suburb.
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Crestwood's police chief and a former village water official were both indicted Thursday for allegedly using drinking water not properly tested for contamination -- and lying about it.

Police Chief Theresa Neubauer, Crestwood's ex-water department clerk and supervisor, and Frank Scaccia, a retired certified water operator, are accused of repeatedly lying to environmental regulators about using a water well's potentially contaminated water to supplement the village's supply.

Neubauer and Scaccia were charged in a 23-count indictment alleging the two secretly used the untested well for more than 20 years.  

U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said in a statement the indictment doesn't allege say the scandal resulted in harm to residents. Rather the officials are accused of violating water-testing regulations, he said, which is a safety hazard.

According to the indictment, Crestwood supplemented its Lake Michigan drinking water with that from an underground aquifer via a well on Playfield Drive. The water was distributed through the community water system to residential, industrial and commercial areas.

“As a result, Crestwood’s water customers were exposed to well water that was not adequately tested for contamination,” Fitzgerald said.

The water was supplemented because of "substantial leakage" in the distribution system that was not fixed, according to the indictment.      

Neubauer and Scaccia will be arraigned at a later date, Fitzgerald said.

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