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Suit says tainted Crestwood water caused man’s cancer

Updated: August 26, 2014 6:49AM



The brother of a Crestwood man who died of cancer last year has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the village, claiming that hazardous chemicals in the village’s drinking water supply caused the illness.

Michael Wakeham filed the suit Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court on behalf of his brother, Robert Wakeham, who died a year ago. It names the village, former mayors Chester and Robert Stranczek and Burke Engineering as defendants.

The suit says Robert Wakeham regularly used water provided by the village for drinking, bathing and cooking. State regulators notified the village in 1985 that it must stop using a well for some of its water supply because it was contaminated with carcinogens, according to the suit.

Despite knowing about the contaminated well, the village continued for about 22 years to use some of the well water with the Lake Michigan water that made up most of the water supply, without notifying residents about the risks, the suit says.

It also contends that Chester Stanczek, who was mayor from 1969 until 2007, and his son Robert, the mayor from 2007 to 2014, had a responsibility to inform residents about the polluted well water and failed to do so.

Burke Engineering, Crestwood’s engineering firm, notified the village sometime before November 2007 that “its water system suffered from substantial leaks and that (the village) would endure a great amount of cost to repair said leaks,” the suit says. It alleges that Burke also advised village officials on ways to conceal that the well water was contaminated.

Mayor Louis Presta said Thursday night that the village had not yet been notified about the suit and he could not comment. A representative for Burke Engineering could not be reached for comment Thursday night.

Sun-Times Media Wire



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