Feds Probe Crestwood's Well Water

Residents contend water contaminated with vinyl chloride, perchloroethylene

Authorities on Wednesday raided the government offices in a Chicago suburb accused of knowingly drawing drinking water from a contaminated well for more than two decades.

The Erin Brockovich of the story, Trisha Krause, tied black ribbon around a tree at Crestwood's Village Hall, proclaiming that it's a new day for the village because "the truth will come out."

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said 15 agents from that agency and others entered Crestwood's village hall and public works department offices, search for evidence of "environmental crimes."

The search warrants were secured Tuesday by a federal judge.

Krause is a longtime crestwood resident whose three kids have health problems, including leukemia and brain tumors.  For the last two years she's been investigating whether there's been contamination in the water supply or soil that may have caused the problems.

Since last summer, when the Illinois EPA told her that she was wasting her time by spending so many hours investigating, she was joined by others who had concerns about Crestwood's water. Some were residents, others were not, Krause said.

They allege that Crestwood is using a well, which is contaminated with toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems, for as much as 30 to 50 percent of their water, when all of their water should have been coming from Lake Michigan.

As he has done since the story broke, Crestwood Mayor Robert Stranczek stressed that the village's "drinking water is 100 percent safe."

The Chicago Tribune recently reported Crestwood officials covered up the presence of chemicals in the water. It alleged state officials in the 1980s found the well contained chemicals linked to cancer, but village officials allegedly kept drawing the water.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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