CHICAGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--According to a class action filed today by Zimmerman Law Offices PC, Aqua Illinois, Inc. (Aqua) contaminated the residential water of thousands of residents of the Village of University Park, Illinois with lead resulting in a “do not consume” notice that warned all Village residents to not drink the water, and instead, the residents were instructed to drink and use bottled water. The plaintiffs represent all residents of the Village, and seek damages for the “considerable stress, aggravation, annoyance, inconvenience and discomfort” associated with the ongoing disruption of the residents’ day-to-day lives caused by the contamination and the risk of increased and irreversible health impacts, especially to young children, from drinking lead-tainted water, as well as recoupment of the residents’ payments for contaminated water and costs incurred to purchase bottled water.
According to the lawsuit, Aqua owns and operates the public water system in the Village, and in 2017, Aqua switched the source of the public water system from local groundwater wells to the Kankakee River and introduced a new chemical mix into the public water system which resulted in the removal of a protective layer in residential plumbing throughout the Village, causing lead to leach into the water delivered to Village residents. The suit alleges that Aqua violated state laws and regulations, as Aqua did not submit any plans or obtain the required permits from the Illinois EPA prior to switching the water source to the Kankakee River and introducing the new chemical mix into the public water system. The complaint states that the EPA has classified the Village as an environmental justice community, a designation given to historically under-represented minority communities with significant environmental challenges.
“The fact that these types of environmental travesties continue to occur with stunning regularity in low income, under-represented communities throughout the U.S. is simply not acceptable,” said Thomas Zimmerman of Zimmerman Law Offices PC, who represents the plaintiffs in this matter. Zimmerman continued: “Following the Flint water disaster, we are all acutely aware of the dangers posed by lead contamination. And as in Flint, news of the lead contamination in University Park has thrown the Village into disarray. The polluter must take responsibility and pay for the damages it caused. It is both the ethical and legally mandated resolution to this tragedy.”
The case is Joann Henderson and William Henderson v. Aqua Illinois, Inc., filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois. A copy of the complaint is available upon request, as are interviews with the attorneys in this matter. The lead plaintiffs may also be available to speak with the media on a limited basis.