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Thursday, June 20, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Town Spiked Water With Carcinogen, Suit Says

CHICAGO (CN) - An Illinois town's mayor and water engineer conspired to dilute Lake Michigan water with water from a well that they knew was polluted with dangerous carcinogens, a couple claim in Cook County Court. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency in 1985 ordered the Village of Crestwood to stop using water from a nearby well after it tested positive for dichlorethylene.

Former Crestwood Mayor Chester Stranczek and current water engineer Frank Staccia told the agency that the town was buying water from Lake Michigan through the city of Chicago, which left the well untested and ostensibly unused.

According to the lawsuit, Stranczek and Staccia continued to add well water to the imported water, while issuing false reports telling the town that all their water came from Lake Michigan.

After an anonymous tip to the Illinois EPA in 2007, the agency in 2009 determined that Crestwood had indeed been using the contaminated well water.

Joyce and Kenneth Wesolowsi say that although the water was not tested, it likely had vinyl chloride and other carcinogens.

Represented by Michael Alkaraki of Leahy & Hoste, they allege unspecified injury from exposure to the tap water between 1985 and 1992.

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