After a former suburban Chicago water official was convicted Monday for lying about secretly mixing carcinogen-tainted well water into the village’s drinking supply, the sense of bitterness and betrayal among residents remained.
Speaking through her tears shortly after the verdict, Crestwood resident Tricia Krause, who was credited with first raising the alarm about the water quality, said village officials had displayed shocking callousness.
From 1982 until the allegations arose in 2008, the village mixed the tainted well water with cleaner but pricier water from Lake Michigan, prosecutors said. Officials kept pumping the polluted water even after environmental officials warned in the mid-1980s that cancer-causing chemicals had oozed into the well, prosecutors have said.
And the motive? Leaders in the 11,000-resident village about 20 miles south of Chicago hoped to score political points with voters by pointing to low water rates and bragging about how they were fiscally responsible stewards, prosecutors said. By drawing the well water, they saved around $400,000 annually.
The revelations infuriated residents and left many fearing for their health.