Some south suburbs warned against drinking tap water due to presence of lead

UNIVERSITY PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- People in parts of the south suburbs are being told not to drink tap water Saturday.

The warning is for Aqua customers in University Park, Green Garden and Monee Township.

The water company says recent test results show high levels of lead in the water.

At this point, it's not clear where the lead is coming from but Aqua says it doesn't believe water mains and service lines are the source.

Some residents are now depending on bottled water to get by.

"They did not want us to drink the water, use the ice, brush our teeth, or cook with water," said University Park resident Sarah Boyd.

The company has not yet said how many people are affected or how much lead was found.

"We don't know how long this has been going on, we just got the message yesterday," said resident Romanita Lake.

Officials say the contamination problems came after the water source was changed last year. The area used to be on well water but switched to the Kankakee River.

Residents say that change has caused their water bills to increase by more than 33 percent each month.

"It's frustrating and the residents of University Park deserve the best quality water they possibly can because it's extremely high," University Park Mayor Joseph Roudez, III.

In a statement, the company said:
"The safety of our customers is our top priority. We are immediately working to resample these homes and will evaluate those results as soon as they are received from the testing laboratory. While we do not believe our infrastructure, including both our water mains and service lines, contains lead, we are moving swiftly to identify the source of the lead.

While we investigate all potential causes for these elevated lead levels, out of an abundance of caution, we are requesting that all University Park, Green Garden and Monee Township customers not drink, cook or use tap water for brushing teeth and that you use filtered or bottled water. We will be delivering bottled water to affected customers today. You may still use water from the tap to bathe or wash hands."
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