Naperville residents claim retention pond is making them sick

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Some homeowners in Naperville believe a spray at a nearby retention pond is making them sick by emitting a toxic mist. (WLS)

Some homeowners in west suburban Naperville believe a spray at a nearby retention pond is making them sick by emitting a toxic mist.

Ted Rachlitz said he started wearing a respirator to mow the lawn after he claims spray from the retention pond made him sick. He said the problem began last summer.

"It's been a year. I've had sinus issues, and my voice is hoarse," Rachlitz said.

It took a while for Rachlitz to connect the dots until he had a conversation with his next door neighbors. Kevin Stearns and Amy Sutton had started to notice some changes in the color and chemistry of their pool, then came the black spots on the concrete around it, the appearance of mold along the backyard fence, and finally, their dogs getting sick. The timing all coincided with the installation of aerators at a neighboring retention pond.

"We're getting sprays. We feel the sprays every time we walk out our backyard. If you're standing 20 minutes on a good windy day, you're soaked," Stearns said.

Because the retention pond is part of the next door subdivision, the homeowner's association was charged with taking water samples and sending them out for E. coli testing. The results were shared with ABC7 by the city of Naperville.

"We've seen the results and we've show that the results are reasonable for that type of retention pond," Naperville spokesperson Linda LaCloche said.

But these residents reject the results and have resorted to taking their own samples for testing, which show a very different contaminant count. They took a new sample on Monday.

"You don't know who to trust anymore. I keep finding I have to go to new labs. And I've had to make up stories," Sutton said.

It's the seventh water sample residents here have taken themselves. They say they will continue to do so until they get some sort of resolution.

The city of Naperville said they may conduct their own independent testing to finally put the matter to rest.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency also said it will be sending staff to the site this week to do an inspection and collect samples from the retention pond.
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healthhealthcontaminated waterNaperville
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