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'Clean' Water In Sauk Village Brings Higher Bills, But Many Still Won't Drink It

SAUK VILLAGE, Ill. (CBS) -- A twist in Sauk Village's water saga – officials have said the water supply is safe, but some residents still aren't drinking it, even though they're paying a lot more for it now.

"They want you to pay these high water bills for this water that you can't even drink. The water comes out of your faucet brown," said Markeeta Mitchell.

CBS 2's Brad Edwards reports one Sauk Village resident, Detra Jackson, saw her monthly water bill go from $200 to $1,500.

"It's ridiculous. Ridiculous. In one month?" she said.

That $1,500 bill is likely a misprint, but water bills in Sauk Village have spiked after repairs were made to the town's well, to remove vinyl chloride contamination this summer.

Sauk Village resident Corey Felder said his water bill "practically doubled."

"I'm not saying exactly doubled, but it's … up there. It's like $85 extra," he said.

Village Clerk Debbie Williams said the rising water bills are the result of residents voting for upgrades to the town well, after the vinyl chloride contamination made it undrinkable for several weeks earlier this year.

Water prices have jumped from $3.50 per 1,000 gallons to $5.50, and will go up again to $7.50 per 1,000 gallons in February.

Residents said their new water bills, like the water itself, are tough to swallow.

Multiple residents on Wednesday said they won't drink the water, or allow their kids to drink it.

In just a few years, the village plans to tap into Lake Michigan water, which voters wanted. That will result in even higher water prices; likely more than $10 per 1,000 gallons.

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