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Many in northern suburbs spend holiday weekend without safe drinking water

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Many in northern suburbs spend holiday weekend without safe drinking water

HAWTHRONE WOODS, Ill. — A boil order remains in some parts of Chicago’s northern suburbs as residents in Hawthorne Woods, Forest Lake, and portions of Kildeer struggle without safe drinking water.

Now reaching day four, locals told WGN that they continue to struggle with the inconvenience that began on Sunday, in addition to the closure of the local aquatic area.  

“There was no communication on whether you could run dishwashers or not, and there was mixed communication, like, ‘Don’t use the water to brush your teeth,’ but in the same email, ‘Make sure you turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth to not waste it,” said Hawthorn Woods resident Rick Epstein.

Epstein is among 1,200 deeply frustrated customers in three Chicago suburbs impacted by the water issue.

Residents say they have complained about what they say has been a failure to communicate promptly since the boil order went into effect.

Epstein and many others add that they are deeply dissatisfied with Aqua Illinois, the utility company delivering water to the community, blasting what they say has been poor, unreliable service amid soaring water bills.  

“We had some neighbors who Sunday and Monday and even Tuesday didn’t realize they shouldn’t be drinking the water if they had some, and everybody pretty much had water until Tuesday,” Epstein said.

State Representative Nabeela Syed weighed in, saying in part, “The company took far too long to mitigate their failure or adequately communicate with the people they failed. People lived without showers, toilets and clean drinking water. Pregnant women, seniors, and other at-risk groups faced a serious public health emergency.”

Spokespeople for Aqua said Wednesday that about half of the affected customers are receiving water, however, it’s not safe to drink until tests are conducted with the Lake County, Illinois Public Works Department.

Residents say it often seems like Aqua personnel are misinformed with information sent to customers.

Additionally, area water problems forced the closure of the local water park, to the disappointment of families.  

In a written statement, Aqua spokespeople described their efforts to fully restore service, stating that the company is “being careful to ensure air that was in the lines can escape. Doing this helps to protect the integrity of the system and can minimize further failures, but it’s a slow process.”

Read more: Latest Chicago news headlines

For more information on the background and timeline of the situation, click here.  

Aqua spokespeople did not offer any sort of estimate on precisely when they hope to have everything back to normal.  

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