Attorney General Madigan: Sauk Village Must Continue to Use Temporary Equipment to Provide Safe Drinking Water

Chicago–(ENEWSPF)–March 7, 2013. Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director John Kim have announced that a court order requires Sauk Village to continue to use temporary equipment to provide residents with safe and clean drinking water as it works on a permanent fix to remove vinyl chloride from the public water supply.

Under the terms of a consent order entered Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court, Sauk Village must maintain continuous operation of temporary air-stripping units that were implemented last July after high levels of vinyl chloride were detected in wells #1 and #2 of its public water supply system, presenting a substantial threat to public health and the environment.

In addition, the village is prohibited from resuming the use of well #3, which has been off-line since 2009 due to the presence of vinyl chloride above the maximum level. Sauk Village also must continue to use the temporary air stripping units and avoid using Well #3 until it installs the permanent treatment system, all of which is subject to the approval of the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

“Under this order, Sauk Village officials must continue to provide residents with safe and clean drinking water. In the long term, it’s critical that the village work to implement this plan to ensure that it can reliably provide clean water,” Madigan said. “My office will closely monitor the situation to ensure the village complies with the court order.”

“Since vinyl chloride contamination was first detected in Sauk Village’s public water supply, Illinois EPA has worked diligently to bring the water supply back into compliance with regulatory requirements” said Director Kim. “From assuring a temporary supply of compliant potable water was available to Sauk Village’s residents, directing the installation of emergency treatment systems to maintain the residents’ supply of water, and working with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office to obtain a long-term solution to the situation, Illinois EPA’s goal has been to ensure Sauk Village’s residents have a dependable, compliant supply of potable water. This settlement will assure Sauk Village’s residents that the potable water they receive now and in the future is compliant with regulatory standards.”

The agreement also requires Sauk Village to continue testing water samples, complete a supplemental environmental project, and pay a $2,500 civil penalty.

The agreement resolves a complaint originally filed against the village by Madigan’s office in 2010 and amended in February and July 2012, after the Illinois EPA referred the most recent complaints of vinyl chloride contamination in the public water supply to the Attorney General’s office for enforcement. The second amended complaint specifically alleged that the village was “causing substantial danger to the public health and welfare of persons and to the environment by failing to provide an assuredly safe public water supply.”

Assistant Attorney General Kathryn Pamenter is handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.