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City of Evanston Statement on James Park Environmental Lawsuit Ruling

Post Date:04/12/2019 11:32 AM

The City of Evanston is disappointed with the U.S District Court’s April 9 decision denying the City’s motion to hold Nicor and ComEd responsible for environmental conditions in the James Park area.

The City’s top priority is and has always been the health and safety of the Evanston community. After being notified about the presence of methane in James Park by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) in late 2012, the City prudently began a thorough investigation to ensure the safety of the City’s drinking water system and to determine the extent, source and environmental impact of the conditions. This investigation, and the subsequent discovery of an unexplained black crust on water pipes in the surrounding area, led the City to file a federal lawsuit after the utilities refused to provide information relating to an abandoned gas distribution system that the City believes caused these environmental conditions to occur.  We believe much of the costs associated with this litigation could have been avoided if the utilities had worked with the City during the investigation.  

Extensive testing conducted as part of the City’s investigation and reported on the City’s website has consistently shown that Evanston drinking water is safe and meets all standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Although the City disagrees with the Court’s decision to not hold the utilities liable for remediating environmental issues in the James Park area, the City remains steadfastly committed to public health and the safety of our drinking water.

The City will carefully review the Court’s ruling and weigh its next steps.

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