Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is happy to announce that the village of Crestwood recently agreed to a $15 million settlement with current and former residents harmed by contaminated public water. We represented many of these residents and are glad that Crestwood officials agreed to finally resolve this case.
Crestwood, a southern suburb of Chicago, will pay for the settlement with $9 million from a bond issue, $3 million in current funds, and the remaining $4 million from insurance.
This story begins in
After the chemical contamination was discovered in 1985, Crestwood told residents and the state that it would shut down the well and only use purchased water from neighboring Alsip. The water mains running from Alsip to the Crestwood community were leaky, however, which Crestwood was unwilling to fix. Instead, officials devised an elaborate scheme to supplement its public water supply with water from the chemically-contaminated well, beginning in 1986.
From 1985 to 2007, as much as 20% of Crestwoodâs public water was from the
That was, until 2007, when state inspectors noticed that Crestwood was supplying far more water to its residents than it claimed to be buying from Alsip. This was discovered when the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) tested emergency backup wells statewide. Crestwood was claiming the contaminated well was only to be used in emergencies, so the IEPA tested its contents in 2007, more than 20 years after the initial contamination and proclaimed shutdown.
According to court records, Crestwood employees kept secret logbooks recording how much water was being pumped from the contaminated well into public water. Only one Crestwood official took the fall for the scheme, however. Theresa
In 2014, Crestwood agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. That civil lawsuit accused village officials of lying more than 120 times about the scheme.
Kidney, Lung, and Gastrointestinal Cancer
After this was all discovered, the Illinois Department of Public Health analyzed cancer cases in Crestwood between 1994 and 2006. The Department found higher-than-normal rates of:
- Gastrointestinal cancer in men
- Kidney cancer in men
- Lung cancer in men and women
Perchloroethylene, a dry-cleaning solvent, is
Nearly 350 plaintiffs ultimately filed suit against Crestwood, and our team of vinyl chloride attorneys is proud to see this case resolved. We have represented clients exposed to dangerous chemicals for 30 years, including asbestos, lead