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Several months ago, a DuPage County Health Department well-testing program detected vinyl chloride in 21 of 33 wells in Wayne Township, Ill, the Daily Herald reported. The highest levels were 4.59 ppb; the federal safe-drinking standard is 2 ppb. Expanded testing found nine out of 11 additional wells polluted with vinyl chloride. The highest level was 10.6 ppb.
A chemical used to make plastics, intense exposure to vinyl chloride has been linked to health problems such as liver or kidney damage and cancer. Studies have shown it can harm pregnant animals and fetuses.
According to some, one possible source of the pollution is the former landfill at Mallard Lake Forest Preserve in Hanover Park, about 2 miles northeast of the contaminated wells. Illinois Environmental Protection Agency experts, however, have not confirmed the source. DuPage County Forest Preserve District officials said the landfill is not the cause.
In addition to health concerns, residents must deal with the expense of connecting to Lake Michigan water through a plan organized by DuPage County. Residents have been meeting with county officials to discuss options including installing a water main paid for by a special tax. The DuPage Water Commission might provide loan money to help pay for the project.
At a March 29 meeting, homeowners learned it could cost $1,000 or $2,000 annually for 20 to 30 years, depending on the loan, plus individual hookup costs estimated at $4,000.
The county board is expected to vote on starting the special service area process Tuesday. Unless a majority of residents object, the water main could be built by fall, according to the Daily Herald.