Sauk Village Water Contaminated: Illinois EPA

Residents warned against drinking tap water as temperatures Tuesday could reach 100 degrees

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP

    UPDATE: Anger, Not Water, Flows at Village Meeting...

    As temperatures climbed Tuesday to an expected high of 100-102 degrees, residents in one suburban Chicago town were being advised against drinking tap water.

    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. The EPA reports water with low levels of the gas has been known to cause cancer.

    That's an issue for anyone dealing with the latest heat wave, but for Sauk Village's 11,000 residents, contamination has been a problem for years.

    "Safe drinking water is a priority," Mayor Lewis Towers said. "I was told by the Illinois EPA that boiling the water does not remove the vinyl chloride."

    "You can't drink the water out here," said Matt, who declined to give his last name. "They should have known that years ago just by the way it tastes. Something's bad. That's why bottled water is so big. Five-gallon jugs, you see people with 10, 12 of them."

    Three wells provide water to the village, and three years ago one of them had to be closed because of unhealthy amounts of vinyl chloride. It's not clear from where this latest problem is coming, but the EPA warns the remaining wells could also be contaminated.

    "It's kind of dangerous. I mean, I've got a wife and two kids," said village resident Ross Felkamp. "They had it supposedly fixed three, four, five years ago, when it first came on."

    In March voters approved a referendum to get their water from Lake Michigan instead of the wells at a higher cost.

    The directive remains to drink bottled water, and residents will need a lot of it Tuesday. The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. as heat indices threatened to reach 105-110 degrees.