Sunday, April 19, 2009

Poisoned Well Cover-Up makes Headlines

My jaw dropped this morning as I read the Chicago Tribune's expose of the polluted drinking water in Crestwood, Illinois. The parallels to Ibsen's Enemy of the People are mind-boggling.

A "tightfisted" Mayor, praised for his business sense, decides to keep drawing from a polluted well to reduce costs. A local citizen refuses to stop investigating a suspicious illness. State officials release a dishonest press release to keep the truth from getting out after the well is shut down.

Poison in the well
Chicago Tribune

April 19, 2009

For more than two decades, the 11,000 or so residents in this working-class community unknowingly drank tap water contaminated with toxic chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems, a Tribune investigation found...

Officials kept using the well even though state environmental officials told them at least 22 years ago that dangerous chemicals related to a dry-cleaning solvent had oozed into the water, records show...

In 1986, village officials announced they would buy treated water exclusively from Alsip. That same year, the state EPA tested Crestwood's well and found that a PCE-related chemical had leached into the water. Crestwood placed the well on "emergency-backup status," records show, and state officials stopped requiring routine testing for chemical pollutants.

Enemy of the People previews April 30-May 2 and runs May 4-30, 2009.
Purchase Tickets through our website.

Paul G. Miller
Season Dramaturge

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