MONTGOMERY, Ill. (CBS) — People who live west of the Chicago area are raising a ruckus over the kind of water that’s been coming out of their taps for nearly two months – rusty water.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the water is so rusty that some people complain their children’s hair is turning orange.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The residents live in the unincorporated Boulder Hill area of Kendall County, but they get their water from Montgomery. In November, their well broke down, so Montgomery diverted water from other wells to those people.

But when it did, pipes that had been unused for some time were suddenly in use, and all the rust and sediment that had built up in those pipes started coming out.

The pipes are still releasing rust and sediment, residents say, so much so that not only is their hair turning orange, but their clothing smells and they are worried about possible health concerns.

Furious Boulder Hill residents flocked to a Montgomery Village Board meeting Monday.

“We can’t elect you, so what choice do we have? We are asking you to make a moral decision,” said resident Michael Way.
Two residents even brought water samples and pieces of damaged softener systems for the trustees to examine.

“Would you want your family to drink, bathe or brush their teeth with dirty, rusty water that smells?” asked Karol Armbruster.

Way said his water bills are escalating, as he tries to flush the pipes in his home.

“We want to know when the problem will be resolved. On my street alone there have been a number of breaks,” he said.

Some residents brought in independent samples of their water. In some instances, the readings showed iron content that ranged from 1.5 to 3.5 milligrams per liter.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency states that the ingestion of iron in drinking water is not directly associated with adverse health effects, so mandatory iron regulations are not in place. Agency officials said that based on “aesthetic issues” a level of 0.3 milligrams per liter is considered high.

Mayor Marilyn Michelini told residents to come back to the Committee of the Whole meeting Wednesday, when she expects to have further information.

“We are working on the problem now and hopefully have resolved to make a better effort to communicate with residents on our website and through press releases,” she said.

The weekly updates will begin immediately with the meeting Wednesday, when a final determination on what caused the well to malfunction as well as the cost to fix it will be determined. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Village Hall, 200 N. River St. in Montgomery.

The Aurora Beacon-News contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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