State Sues Aqua Illinois After Lead Found In Chicago Suburb’s Water


Corporate logo for Aqua Illinois and parent company Aqua America.

Aqua Illinois

Illinois has filed a lawsuit alleging that the company that provides water to the Chicago suburb of University Park caused lead to contaminate the village's drinking water.

Attorney General Kwame Raoul, along with Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow, sued Aqua Illinois Friday. The company supplies water to residents of University Park, a village of nearly 7,000 residents in northern Will County, about 40 miles south of Chicago.

Aqua Illinois switched the source of the village's water from groundwater wells to the Kankakee River in 2017. The lawsuit says a chemical added to the water system removed a protective layer in residential plumbing, causing lead to leach into the water.

The company notified the state in May that testing detected elevated lead levels. Raoul says Aqua Illinois warned residents of University Park and adjacent unincorporated areas not to drink the water and is providing bottled water and filters to impacted residents.

The lawsuit seeks an injunction to require Aqua Illinois to immediately correct the situation.

In a page on its website devoted to the lead contamination, Aqua Illinois says it determined that the contamination only affects homes in its University Park service area built prior to 1990, due to a chemical additive in the water supply interacting with lead solder in those houses' internal plumbing. The company says it has removed more than 800 newer homes from its advisory. 

Aqua Illinois provides water service to various communities in 13 Illinois counties, including Champaign, Vermilion, Knox and several counties in the Chicago-Rockford-DeKalb area, including Will County, where University Park is located. The company is a subsidiary of Pennsylvania-based Aqua America.

Story source: AP