Rockford, 1981: Residents who live on a small piece of land along the southeast side of the city have no idea their drinking water is contaminated.
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are found in hundreds of municipal and private wells across the area. It would end up taking nine years of surveys and studies before the federal government would step in and switch nearly 550 homes over to clean water from the City of Rockford.
But after years of ingesting toxic chemicals, the health of more than 1,000 people became the government's primary concern. So in the early 1990s, residents who were exposed to one of the toxic chemicals, trichloroethylene(TCE), were added to a national registry to help track the potential health impacts of the contaminated water.
The study was scheduled to last 20 years, but it was never finished. It stopped less than two years short of its completion in 2010.
And the results from the first 18 years? They have never been released.
Today, the fight for that information continues. One family wonders if living in that superfund site, killed their loved one.