Report: Chicago Suburb Knowingly Supplied Residents With Contaminated Drinking Water

Officials knowingly drew drinking water from a contaminated well for more than two decades even after warnings by state environmental officials, according to a published report.

Records showed that state Environmental Protection Agency officials cited contaminated tap water in Crestwood in the 1980s, saying it contained dangerous chemicals related to a dry-cleaning solvent, according to a Chicago Tribune story published Sunday.

The water in the suburb south of Chicago was contaminated with chemicals linked to perchloroethylene, or PCE, which is believed to cause cancer.

The Tribune reported that village officials told state regulators that they would use water from Lake Michigan, but the village of about 11,000 continued to draw from the contaminated well. It said that at times, up to 20 percent of the village's water supply came from the well and that officials touted the village's cheap water rates during the two decades.

The well was not shut off until late 2007, after state EPA officials tested the water and found contamination.

City officials didn't respond to Tribune requests for comment, and messages left Sunday by The Associated Press for village officials weren't returned.

Chester Stranczek, who was the village's mayor in the mid-1980s, said he did not know the details of the investigation. He told the Southtown Star that he had "never been accused of doing something wrong."