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May 30, 2009


Springfield—Attorney General Lisa Madigan today applauded the General Assembly's passage of legislation that requires prompt notification to all users when drinking water is contaminated. Madigan worked with Governor Quinn and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) to draft House Bill 4021, which amends the Illinois Right to Know law. State Rep. Frank Mautino (D-Spring Valley) and State Sens. Susan Garrett (D-Lake Forest) and Emil Jones, III (D-Chicago) sponsored the H.B. 4021.

The legislation was developed in response to recent revelations that the Village of Crestwood had been supplementing the town's water supply with water from a well found to be contaminated more than 20 years ago. While current law requires notification of contamination to the owners and operators of the water system (in this case, the Village of Crestwood), it does not currently mandate notification to the people who drink the water. H.B. 4021 corrects that problem by requiring prompt notice to all of the users of the water when contamination is discovered. The bill also makes providing false information to environmental enforcement officials a felony under state law.

"We need to make sure that what happened to Crestwood residents never happens again in Illinois," said Madigan. "The law needed to be strengthened to protect public safety and to restore public trust."

Attorney General Madigan's office is currently investigating the actions of the Village of Crestwood regarding the use of a contaminated well as a source of drinking water. The office is working to determine what the Village did, what the Village knew, and when the Village knew it, as well as which environmental laws were violated. The office is also working to identify the source of the contamination.

"A safe water supply is absolutely critical to the health and safety of the people of Illinois," added Madigan. "The bill passed today by the General Assembly strengthens the law and will help to keep our drinking water safe."


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