EPA Says Water in Sauk Village is OK to Drink | NBC Chicago

EPA Says Water in Sauk Village is OK to Drink

The Sauk Village Mayor made the announcement during an emergency water meeting

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    The Illinois Environment Protection Agency recently issued another warning for south suburban Sauk Village saying the town's drinking water contains way too much of the gas vinyl chloride. (Published Tuesday, July 17, 2012)

    It was a raucous meeting in Sauk Village Thursday night after residents received an update about contaminated water flowing through the town.

    "The water is safe to drink," said Mayor Lewis Towers during an emergency meeting where he read a memo from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency stating the levels of vinyl chloride do not exceed the maximum levels.

    Residents reacted to the news with mixed emotions ranging from happiness, confusion, rage and distrust.

    "We came for remedies today, we didn't come for them to tell us to keep using the water and keep being infected," said Sheila Zinn who attended the emergency meeting held Thursday.

    It's the latest development in a story that began Tuesday when the IEPA issued a warning of high levels of vinyl chloride in the water supply, a gas the agency says can cause cancer. On Wednesday residents were outraged to see bottles of water being sold during an emergency meeting to discuss the contamination of their drinking water.

    Thursday the mayor publicly announced the IEPA the letter, leaving many residents confused and angry over the safety of the water.

    Business owners said the village held a meeting that morning warning the water may not be safe enough to use for washing dishes.

    "You don't really know what the levels really are, you know it's terrible for business," said Manager of Wiseguyz Bar Danny Hammond.

    The IEPA said the village must provide free bottled water to residents concerned their water may be contaminated, and find a way to reduce the levels of vinyl chloride.

    Not every Sauk Village resident is angry or worried over the water.

    "This water is fine," said long time resident Elizabeth Norcott. "I don't care what state, city or town you go to, well water, if you make coffee, will make a scum on the top. It's well water!"

    The water will be tested weekly, according to the meeting.

    Additionally, the village board has approved air stripping which would purify the water but could take up to six months.

    Residents are trying to organize a protest of the mayor's announcement at 8 a.m. Friday, said Zinn.