CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly a month has gone by since Aqua Illinois found lead in the water in University Park, and 1,500 residents still have no running water. Now they are boiling mad after the company was a no-show during a town hall at Faith Movers Church in University Park.
Dozens turned up to share their frustrations Monday night, but Aqua Illinois was nowhere in sight, and now community members plan to take their concerns directly to the company’s front door.
I’m having to buy paper plates, paper cups, forks, spoons and knives. Is Aqua supplying any of that?” said longtime village resident Cynthia Hudson. “Somebody should’ve been here.”
As community members approached the microphone searching for answers, no one was able to respond without Aqua present.
“I wish Aqua was here because I need clarification,” one resident said.
Some are now urging area clergy to make the trip to Aqua’s headquarters in Kankakee a reality.
“I believe they will support us if we try to get some kind of caravan,” said another resident.
Representatives from both the Illinois and United States Environmental Protection Agency were in the audience to listen as Hudson expressed her discomfort about being told the same water she can’t drink is safe to wash and bathe with.
“If you can’t drink it, it shouldn’t be going on your body,” she said.
Aqua Illinois claims it could have been Seaquest, the treatment product they used, that caused lead to dissolve into the water.
Illinois EPA Deputy Division Manager Richard Cobb told the crowd that chemical is now out of commission.
“We’re not permitting it any longer,” he said.
CBS 2’s Eric Cox reached out to Aqua Illinois about the company’s absence at Monday’s meeting. A company representative said there was a mutual understanding between the company and the event organizers that company members could not be present at the meeting. Event organizers say that is not true and the company did agree to attend the meeting weeks ago only to cancel without providing an alternate date.