U.S. Water News Online
CHICAGO, Ill. -- A lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court
alleging that wells serving several dozen families have been
contaminated by vinyl chloride that leaked from a now-closed DuPage
The lawsuit was filed against the DuPage County Forest Preserve as
owners of the landfill and BFI Waste Systems of North America Inc.,
which operated the landfill in Hanover Park. It seeks compensation
for the cost of a new water supply and property damage due to the
contamination. The lawsuit also seeks punitive damages.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit, Tyanna and Jeff Cannata of West
Chicago, say the groundwater beneath their home, which they use for
drinking, cooking and bathing, is contaminated by the carcinogen
vinyl chloride. They are asking the court to treat the lawsuit as a
class action on behalf of at least 80 other families they believe to
be affected by the contamination.
Those who breathe vinyl chloride have an increased risk of cancers
of the liver, brain, lungs and blood, according to the Agency for
Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
The effects of drinking high levels of vinyl chloride are unknown,
but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it's unsafe for
drinking water to contain more than two parts per billion of the
"We haven't received a copy of the lawsuit, so we can't comment,"
said Bill Weidner, a spokesman for the DuPage County Forest Preserve.
"(But) from the data we have received, we don't believe the Mallard
Lake landfill is the source of the contamination. We are interested
in finding out the source."
According to Shawn Collins, attorney for the Cannatas, the same
chemicals found in the drinking water are found in the landfill and
not anywhere else in the area. The groundwater moves in a direction
from the landfill toward the homes affected by the contamination, he
"In order to create groundwater contamination of the scope that
has been found you have to have a massive amount of toxic waste
dumped," Collins said.
The landfill closed down in March 1999 after it reached capacity,
according to Weidner, who added it was filled with household and not
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the
source of the contamination as a result of random testing late last
year by the DuPage County Health Department, which showed elevated
levels of vinyl chloride in several wells.
Carol Fuller of the IEPA told the Chicago Sun-Times it isn't
unusual to find vinyl chloride at landfills. However, she said
testing has shown what little is on the site hasn't left the site.
Return to the
U.S. Water News' Archives page
Return to the U.S. Water
Use a comma to separate e-mail addresses:
Hi, I thought you might like to read this article.