Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Water woes persist in north suburban communities as boil order nears a week

HAWTHORN WOODS, Ill. — A boil order remains in effect through the weekend for many in the northern suburbs as a stretch of non-safe drinking water nears a week.

Aqua executive Jim Bilotta apologized to the communities of Hawthorn Woods, Forest Lake, and Kildeer on Friday, adding that full restoration of water service is the company’s highest priority.

“We have three different survey crews out right now leak detector companies, and as they find something, we’ll address it right away,” Bilotta said.

RELATED: Many in northern suburbs spend holiday weekend without safe drinking water

Aqua Illinois says they’ll continue handing out cases of water at the local aquatic center until the boil order is lifted. 

But more needs to be done, according to Hawthorn Woods resident Rick Epstein, who has dealt with a six-day-long water boil order. He hopes that the Illinois Commerce Commission takes a closer look at what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again.

“We fully support that and I think it’s important that Aqua get their senior executives, not just local, but senior executives up to Hawthorn Woods to meet with residents of the village and try to improve what is right now not a very trustworthy relationship.”

Resident Leigh Van Heule, like many others, told WGN News that their confidence in Aqua has waned.

“We know that we’re going to have 50% more households in our neighborhood alone,” she said. “How are they going to be able to meet that increased demand? That is a big concern.”

Aqua Illinois officials said they are formulating a plan for the future, vowing to collaborate with state, county, and community leaders on a more accurate forecast of demand.

The water service company plans to explore what can be done to limit demand during drought conditions while also accelerating the drilling of an additional well to supply more water for the system.

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“That is the goal and it’s under design right now and we’ll get permitted and get started as soon as possible,” Bilotta said.

But it will likely be 2024 before the new well is complete. In the interim, residents continue to demand answers about what caused the ongoing water issues.

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