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Sauk Village Residents May Soon Be Able To Drink Tap Water Again

Crews haul in equipment that will be used to perform an "air stripping" of the drinking water in Sauk Village, which has been contaminated with vinyl chloride. (Credit: CBS)

Crews haul in equipment that will be used to perform an “air stripping” of the drinking water in Sauk Village, which has been contaminated with vinyl chloride. (Credit: CBS)

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SAUK VILLAGE, Ill. (CBS) — Residents of south suburban Sauk Village may soon be able to drink water out of their faucets again.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, two devices have been put in place that are intended to eliminate vinyl chloride from a Sauk Village well. Two more devices will be connected to a second well.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency will test the air strippers for bacteria Friday, and possibly Saturday or Monday. If the tests have good results, Sauk Village residents could be using their taps for water as soon as early next week.

Illinois Environmental Protection Agency community relations director Carol Fuller says the state has already spent about $450,000 for contractual work on the problem, and “the rental for the units is, I believe, $25,000 a month.”

In the meantime, Sauk Village residents are to continue to get free bottled water from the village. Fuller says the village is using more than 3,000 gallons a day.

The village is using the air stripping devices because of orders from the Illinois EPA to clean up the water immediately.

It has been more than two weeks since the village first started handing out bottled water to residents, and advising them not to drink the tap water.

The vinyl chloride problem has been on the village’s radar for at least three years.

Officials hope to eventually cut a deal to bring Lake Michigan water to Sauk Village. That won’t be cheap, either. Some estimates say it could cost the cash-strapped suburb as much as $20 million.