Some Illinois Residents Say Water Is Making Them Sick

March 15, 2005

Residents of Wauconda, Ill., believe their water is making them sick. And the people of this suburban Chicago community are preparing to take action.

Patricia Bardell maintains she’s been poisoned by her own tap water.

"I went to the hospital, and they pulled four tumors from me," she said. Bardell said she has suffered cancerous tumors along with three miscarriages, a persistent intestinal infection, hives and rashes.

These illnesses started only after moving into her Wauconda home seven years ago.

Bardell’s sons also have been sick with rashes and pains, and at least one toddler who attended her in-home day care has had mysterious illnesses including stomach problems for two years.

Bardell blames their health problems on tainted water she unknowingly served them.

The contamination allegedly came from a Wauconda landfill, and as many as 400 families may be affected by the water.

Investigators from Local TV station CBS 2 have obtained federal documents that show the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency knew the groundwater in the area was contaminated as far back as 1989 with dangerous cancer-causing chemicals the government suspected would end up in the local drinking water.

Residents say they were not warned.

"They knew," Bardell said. "That’s why I was so upset."

Hundreds of Wauconda residents, including the Bardells, are now drinking bottled water provided by the companies that managed the landfill.

Bardell and others are filing a lawsuit against Wauconda Sand and Gravel Landfill, blaming the companies that have been running the landfill since 1983 for allowing dangerous chemicals such as vinyl chloride to leave landfill property and contaminate the drinking water supply.

No one from EPA was available to comment.

A spokesperson for the Wauconda Task Group, which represents 10 companies that managed the landfill, said good progress has been made to bring a public water system to affected residents and they’re working hard with CBS 2 and the EPA to facilitate a solution.

They claim there is no proof that the source of the vinyl chloride is from the landfill.

Attorneys maintain there are more illnesses under investigation.

If pending legislation is passed, people would be automatically notified about ground contamination like this.

Source: CBS 2