Crestwood Public Drinking Water Supply Contamination

Update #2
Illinois EPA’s Crestwood Sampling Summary

June 2009 Investigation of the Potential Source of Contamination of the Closed Public Water Supply (PWS) Well #1

Village of Crestwood, Cook County

Update #2 - June 30, 2009

During the second week of June 2009, Illinois EPA’s Office of Site Evaluation performed initial sampling of soil and shallow groundwater around Playfield Cleaners, a suspected potential source of groundwater contamination in the tainting of the Crestwood PWS Well #1, and between the Playfield property and the now sealed well. The purpose of the initial investigation was to examine and define the extent of contamination and its potential effects on the general public. Results of this sampling indicate that there is no current potential for human exposure to the contamination detected and consequently no health threat to the residents of Crestwood. However, additional investigation will be needed to attempt to determine the source and responsibility for the contamination of Crestwood PWS Well #1.

Investigation Results

The Illinois EPA’s equipment capabilities allow for subsurface investigations to be performed above the bedrock. Bedrock was found between approximately 20 and 35 feet below the ground surface across the area. Four soil and ten shallow groundwater samples were collected for laboratory analysis. Our sample results indicate:

  • At the Playfield Cleaners site, soils beneath the surface remain contaminated with drycleaner solvent, tetrachloroethene, more commonly known as perchloroethylene (PCE). At the same location, shallow groundwater remains contaminated with PCE and some of its breakdown products, including vinyl chloride.
  • Shallow groundwater north of the Playfield Cleaners site is contaminated with vinyl chloride at one third of the concentration found at the source location immediately south of Playfield Cleaners. This is the only groundwater contamination identified beyond the immediate release area and is confined to under the Playfield Plaza parking lot on the north side of the shopping center.
  • All soil and shallow groundwater samples collected east of Tinley Creek, between the drycleaner site and the former PWS well, and both north and south of the former PWS well in Playfield Park and the baseball fields -- were “non-detect” for all of the volatile organic chemicals, including vinyl chloride, for which they were analyzed.
  • All soil and groundwater samples collected south of the Playfield Plaza property were “non-detect” for all of the volatile organic chemicals, including vinyl chloride, for which they were analyzed.
  • Based on the concentrations, depth, and limited extent of contaminants found in the sampling, health impacts from chemical vapors entering homes is not a concern.

Investigation Goals

IEPA’s primary goal was to find the extent of contamination in the shallow subsurface from this site and, if possible, try to determine shallow groundwater flow direction. A primary concern was to determine if there remains a potential current health threat from the remaining soil and groundwater contamination.

A secondary goal was to determine if there was a threat to human health from lead in surface soils under the water tower. Local citizens expressed concerns that lead-based paints may be present in the shallow soil beneath the water tower as a result of water tower sandblasting.

The surface soils beneath the water tower and immediate area were investigated for lead contamination; real-time X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) imaging revealed no lead levels exceeding cleanup objectives for residential soils. The Illinois EPA has sent the XRF results to Illinois Department of Public Health for further health interpretation. The IDPH’s response will be posted at the website listed below.

The complete data set and explanations of the sample collection processes, can be found in the report, “Sampling Activities at Abandoned Crestwood Well #1” and its attachments.

Conclusions and Next Steps

Our data indicate shallow groundwater flow direction appears to trend both northward and toward Tinley Creek. Regional groundwater flow in the bedrock has been documented as also flowing northward. The Illinois EPA’s investigations to date have not located any private wells north of Playfield Cleaners to the Calumet-Sag Channel. Since IEPA has found no evidence of anyone drinking private well water in the path of groundwater flow and the PWS well has been sealed, the Agency has concluded that no one is currently exposed to these contaminants. The Illinois EPA will assist the state and federal health authorities in their efforts to identify any potential health impacts from past exposure to tainted Crestwood PWS water. Although fortunately there is no current exposure threat from this contamination, the Illinois EPA is evaluating further investigative options to determine the extent of the historical groundwater contamination at deeper levels, as well as enforcement activities directed toward source (soil) cleanup at the Playfield Cleaners site.

Where can I find more Information?

Residents with questions for Illinois EPA should contact:

Mara McGinnis (phone 217-524-3288;
e-mail to: Mara.McGinnis@illinois.gov)
Office of Community Relations, Illinois EPA

Additional Information

Fact sheet update #1, along with the original May 8, 2009 Crestwood fact sheet, can be found the IEPA's Crestwood Public Drinking Water Supply Contamination web page or at the Crestwood Public Library District. Any further updates from the Illinois EPA concerning Crestwood, including the environmental investigation results, will be posted on this web page.

Residents with specific health-related questions or concerns about private wells should contact:

Tom Baughman (phone 630-293-6800;
e-mail to: Tom.Baughman@illinois.gov)
Toxicology Section, IDPH West Chicago Regional Office