Updated 07/17/12 – 9:50 p.m.
SAUK VILLAGE, Ill. (CBS) — Everyone wants to stay hydrated with the temperature reaching close to 100 degrees Tuesday, but in Sauk Village, they’re stuck with bottled water.
As WBBM Newsradio’s Brandis Friedman reports, the tap water in Sauk Village is contaminated. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency says unsafe levels of vinyl chloride in the drinking water dispensed by the village pose a threat to public health.
Vinyl chloride is known to cause liver damage. It’s a problem that’s been on the village’s radar for three years. After this broke The Mayor knew about the problem for 3 years and didn't do a dam thing until the E.P.A. stepped in then the Mayor stats in a town meeting that the water is safe and when challenged he throws a resident out and 4 other's there after after they had left the mayor thretened any one who speaks will be arrested. The next meeting was scheduled for Yesterday and the Mayor informed the Chief that if anyone speaks arrest them they are just to come and listen. Well as you will read further down noone was arrested and The Sarge made alot of phone calls informing alot of people. There were FBI agents in attendance ready to arrest any cop who violated someones civil rights. Saulk village have not bathed and they have to choose bottled water or food then do you reserve it for drinking and cooking or bathing. You have to put your self in their shoes.
A letter from the I.E.P.A.
State of Illinois
Pat Quinn, Governor
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Community Relations
1021 N. Grand Avenue East
Springfield, Illinois 62702
Phone: (217) 782-2829
Fax: (217) 785-7725
TDD: (217) 782-9143
Fact Sheet # 1
Sauk Village Water Supply Contamination Issue
Cook County, Illinois
In June 2009, Illinois EPA mailed public notices to all Sauk Village Water Supply users regarding vinyl
chloride contamination in groundwater that is affecting the community water supply. In the water drawn
from Well Number 3, the concentration of vinyl chloride in 2009 [at 3.49 micrograms per liter (ug/L)]
violated the federal maximum contaminant level of 2 ug/L allowed for a public water supply. Well
Number 3 was taken out of service in 2009 and has not been part of the system since then because of
the vinyl chloride contamination.
Vinyl chloride is a chemical from a family of chemicals known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that
are related to industrial and commercial cleaning solvents among other uses. These chemicals tend to
vaporize readily into the air once brought to the surface
– at a faucet, for example. When in groundwater,
however, they are resistant to breakdown and tend to remain for many years and can move slowly
with the groundwater gradient (the groundwater flow direction).
Two other Sauk Village wells provide water into the treatment system for the community water supply,
and the point where the water enters the system has been monitored quarterly for the contaminant of
– vinyl chloride – along with other contaminants that may affect public water supplies.
In 2010, Illinois EPA helped develop legislation that allows for early notification to community water
supply (CWS) users about the presence of a cancer-causing VOC chemical at one-half the federal
drinking water standard, known as the maximum contaminant level (MCL). The legislation compels
water supplies to develop a plan that will prevent a violation of the MCL in the finished water.
Additionally, the plan must demonstrate how the CWS will reduce the concentration of the VOC so that
its concentration is less than what can be detected through standard methods. The Illinois EPA and the
Illinois Office of the Attorney General are pursuing legal enforcement against Sauk Village to correct
water quality and water quantity problems related to the community water supply.
Is the Sauk community water
supply currently safe to
The community water supply has been meeting state and federal water
quality standards since Well Number 3 was taken out of service in
2009. However, the two remaining wells are showing low levels of vinyl
chloride, and are being routinely monitored for water quality. If the
concentration of vinyl chloride or any other contaminant reaches onehalf
the MCL, Illinois law requires that the water supply operator notify
all supply users. Illinois EPA routinely reviews all the laboratory results
of the water supply, and will make sure notice occurs.
Can the vinyl chloride be
removed from the well water?
Yes. There are various forms of treatment to remove the contamination
after the well water is drawn at the well, before it goes into the system
that delivers water to the users.
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Does Sauk Village have other
water quality issues for water
quality besides the VOC
Yes. Other aesthetic water quality issues may include iron or
manganese content or other naturally-occurring substances that cause
issues with taste or may form stains on clothing and fixtures. This in
itself is not usually a problem for public health; however these water
quality parameters are monitored as well. Please see Illinois Dept. of
Public Health’s brochure, “
Commonly Found Substances in Drinking
Why would water quantity be
The two existing wells currently pumping source water (groundwater)
for the Sauk Village system are nearly at capacity to meet the daily
needs of Sauk Village and the two satellite systems it supplies. If
something would happen to either pump, if another well would have to
be taken off-line, or if large quantities of water were needed (e.g., a fire
occurred), there could be a water shortage issue. That is why it is
urgently important to have a sufficient supply in place to quickly provide
a safe and adequate supply of wate
r to Sauk Village’s customers
should a shortage occur.
What health effects can
result from consuming vinyl
chloride in drinking water?
Exposure to low levels of vinyl chloride over many years may lead to
impaired immune system function; kidney, liver or central nervous
system damage; and may increase the risk of liver cancer.
How can I look up water
quality data about the Sauk
Attached is a list of steps (page 4) to take, using
Illinois EPA’s web site
(http:/epa.state.il.us), that will allow you to view sampling data
information for public water supplies. You may want to view information
on bacterial contamination (coliform sample results) or chemical (noncoliform
sample results by analyte).
Would obtaining Lake
Michigan water for Sauk
Village solve the problem?
The State of Illinois is under a fixed withdrawal rate for Lake Michigan
water. While allocations of water for individual public water supplies
are still available, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)
explains that there are specific criteria that must be met to qualify an
entity for an allocation. Detailed estimates of (a) the cost of Lake water
versus treatment of an existing water source to meet the quality of lake
water and (b) future water quantity needs must demonstrate that Lake
Michigan water is the best option.
Additionally, it is likely that infrastructure additions and improvements
would be necessary to bring Lake water to a location and to operate a
system that is in compliance with all the requirements. Developing the
required information to provide to IDNR and constructing the
infrastructure additions and improvements necessary to obtain and
provide an allotment of Lake Michigan water to customers will be a
The Illinois EPA believes that a solution needs to happen quickly in
order for the Village to have a water supply that is
“assuredly safe in
quality and quantity,
” per the law. The current situation is that water
from Well #3 requires treatment before it can be put into the system,
and it is not known how long water from the remaining two wells could
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avoid treatment and still be safe for public consumption, since the vinyl
chloride concentration is approaching a regulatory limit. If water from
the other two wells cannot be used for any reason, an immediate water
supply problem would exist for Sauk Village’s customers.
Who to contact for more information:
Carol Fuller Maggie Carson
Illinois EPA Illinois EPA
Community Relations Coordinator Communications Manager
Office of Community Relations 217/558-1536
Dan Injerd, Lake Michigan Mgmt. Chief
Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources
Printed by Authority of
The State of Illinois
March-2012 36830 300
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SAUK VILLAGE, Ill. (CBS) – The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has stepped in to help Sauk Village officials find a way to clean their town’s contaminated water supply.
CBS 2’s Marissa Bailey reports village leaders told residents of the far south suburb that the water is safe to drink, according to federal guidelines.
But local residents remained doubtful of those claims.
Elevated levels of vinyl chloride in the water have prompted the village to give out free bottled water to local residents since last week. The Illinois EPA and Illinois Attorney General’s office also have been working with the village to find a long-term solution.
The Illinois EPA has agreed to pay for the installation of two air strippers at the village water treatment plant, but that’s only a temporary fix. The devices, designed to send blasts of air through the water to remove the contamination, can clean 500 gallons of water per minute, and should be in place next week.
Meantime, Sauk village volunteer firemen were passing out gallons of bottled water on Wednesday as village officials met with residents to discuss the ongoing problem.
While neighbors are grateful for the bottled water being supplied by the village, patience is running low, even for the kids.
Asked how cautious she is with water, on a scale of 1 to 10 — 1 being not very and 10 being very cautious – Jennie Gunn said, “Can I say 12?”
Gunn and her unborn baby boy drink only bottled water, a pricey reality for the young mother.
“I have to make a decision whether I want to buy my family a bag of chicken, or a case of water,” she said.
It was Sauk Village water that members of the Illinois EPA and Public Health Department were answering questions about Wednesday night at a village meeting.
“I want to wash my hair without my hair fallin’ out,” one local resident said.
Neighbors were able to ask questions and vent about the town’s water problems.
Asked if he would drink the village’s water, Illinois EPA interim director John J. Kim said, “if it was up to me right now, I would take up the village on their offer to have bottled water available, and that’s what I would go with until the treatment systems are in place.
A long-term solution for cleaning the town’s water was still in the works as of Wednesday night.