CHICAGO, Oct. 26 (UPI) -- An Illinois community is at the center of a controversy over contaminated drinking water supplies, federal officials say.
For years, the south Chicago suburb of Crestwood was pumping contaminated water to its residents from an emergency well, allegedly in an effort to save money, even after Illinois regulators told town officials that cancer-causing chemicals had been detected in the well, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.
Crestwood officials allegedly lied in official documents and said the village used only treated Lake Michigan water, the newspaper said.
Three city officials are facing a federal criminal investigation.
Federal law doesn't require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency or states to monitor emergency wells like the one in Crestwood.
That lack of oversight is a problem throughout the nation as more than 6,700 water systems maintain emergency supplies, a report from the EPA's inspector general said.
The report recommends that federal and state officials conduct more rigorous inspections and adopt tighter reporting guidelines.
"There is no common understanding of when and how emergency facilities may be used, especially with regard to drinking water," the EPA report concluded. "States rely on water systems to self-report when they use these emergency facilities."